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Web exclusive, June 3, 2011
REMEMBER WHEN Excerpts from The Weekly Packet, June 1, 1961
Didn’t it rain? It certainly did! Car swept off bridge at Surry
The Weekly Packet, Celebrating our 50th year

The Weekly Packet: Remember When Archive
Click here to see the full The Weekly Packet: Remember When Archive.

April showers were a little late this year.

Then they came all at once, in a record-breaking downpour that dumped more than seven inches of rain in less than two days, sent area streams out of their banks, washed out roads and knocked out telephone lines.

Manley Bragdon Sr. measured the fall at 7.03 inches from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning. The measurement, at the Forest Service station between Surry and Blue Hill, exceeds all records at the station, the closest being a four-inch downpour in 1951.

Blue Hill Fire Chief Gerald Robertson measured 7-3/8 inches.

Flooding was general throughout the area. It wasn’t the spectacular, disastrous type of flood where walls of water come rushing down on towns. But it was a hodgepodge of wash-outs, flooded basements, and displaced culverts—a lot of little nuisances, and expensive….

No deaths or injuries were reported caused by the storm, but tragedy came close in Surry Saturday afternoon when a car was swept off Route 172 at Meadow Brook.

It was the same spot where, earlier this year, a car was washed downstream during a sudden thaw.

Mrs. Arthur Airline, Surry, and her daughter, Crystal, 13, were the victims of the latest mishap. Fortunately, onlookers were on the spot and the two were soon pulled from the frothy water—although one rescuer was nearly swept away by the heavy current.

The Airlines were going home from Newbury Neck. Mrs. Airline said she had just met two cars going toward Blue Hill, so didn’t think current over the bridge could be too swift.

Several firemen were at the scene, looking the situation over and guiding traffic through.

Mrs. Airline said she couldn’t see the road surface and didn’t realize how swift the current was, but thought if she crept along slowly she could pass safely.

As she started across, the water came up as far as her parking lights.

“The next thing I knew,” Mrs. Airline said, “the car began to sway as it often does when it has a flat tire on front.”

Current and wind carried the car to the edge of the road, slid it off the highway and into the stream. The car settled on a pile of rocks.

Firemen immediately came to the rescue, throwing a rope to the car which was swaying back and forth on the rock pile. After tying the rope to her waist, Crystal crawled through as window and was pulled to dry land. Mrs. Airline was rescued in the same manner…