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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Seydi Burciaga

Seydi Burciaga
Seydi Burciaga was trapped in her car in suburban Atlanta, Ga., as floodwaters swirled and rose. "My car is turning. Now the wheels is getting up, and I'm going to drown," Burciaga cried, pleading for help. Burciaga's frantic pleas came in a 911 call early Monday morning and were on a tape released by authorities Wednesday. It was one one of hundreds of calls that came into Gwinette County as record flooding swept across the Southeast, killing at least 10 people before waters began to recede Wednesday.
Gov. Sonny Perdue asked President Obama to declare a state of emergency in Georgia, where officials estimated flooding had caused at least $250 million in damage. A fire rescue team managed to locate Burciaga by 5:09 a.m. Monday morning, authorities reported. Police arrived four minutes later. Burciaga, alone in the Nissan Quest, was still on the phone with the 911 operator. The entire roadway was submerged in nearly six feet of water. "Listen to me. You're not going to drown. Roll down your windows, if you're able to, and get out of your vehicle," the 911 dispatcher told the 39-year-old Mexican immigrant.
"I'm in the back of my car. I don't know if I can break it," said Burciaga, the mother of a 9-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter. "Ma'am, if you can break it, break it. Do whatever you can to get out of your vehicle....We're going to save your life." But the roiling waters continued to swell. "It's taking me down now," Burciaga says, crying. "OK, listen, you're not going to drown. We're going to be there for you," the dispatcher said. "Just stay with me, Okay?" "Okay, Okay," Burciaga says. Then she shrieks, "Oh my God!" Her cell phone went dead at 5:16 a.m. Rescue crews tried in vain to find her in the murky water. Her body, dressed in blue jeans, a green shirt and tennis shoes was found about an hour later.

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