ORLANDO, Fla. -- An airboat team is back home in Central Florida after a weekend of flooding rescues in North Carolina, including one that saved a family.
- Wild Florida airboats help in hurricane rescues
- They saved a family in North Carolina this weekend
- Family had been swept away in flash flood
Wild Florida is known around Central Florida as an animal and airboat park in Osceola County.
But when there's a hurricane, the airboat team packs up and heads out to rescue people in flooded areas of the country -- including North Carolina this past weekend with Hurricane Florence.
The team says one rescue in particular will stay with them forever. They call it a full-blown miracle.
The Wild Florida team was in Kelly, North Carolina when they got a call to help a family.
"Very fast, rushing water over a highway, came over a bridge and past the bridge was a lot deeper, but very, very big rapids," said PJ Brown with Wild Florida.
The father, two children, and a pregnant mother had been swept out of their car by a flash flood. They had been clinging to trees in deep water for about three hours. An uncle who came out to help save his family also was swept out of the water.
A professional swiftwater rescue team tried to help the family, but even though they could hear them and see their lights, they couldn't reach them.
Co-owners Jordan Munns and Sam Haught took the boat out while Brown and Daniel Munns stayed behind in case something happened.
"We were nudging from tree to tree in a very, very dense forest, that’s 10 to 15 feet deep of water," Jordan Munns said.
But eventually they were able to reach the father, who had his 8-year-old son on his back. The father was able to help them find his wife, who had the couple's four-year-old on her back. Then they found the uncle in another area. They also rescued the family's dog.
“It was a reunion that they didn’t think was going to happen," Munns said. "They admitted, when they got on the boat, that they thought they were going to die. A professional swiftwater team couldn’t get to them, they just thought and just came to grips with the fact that they were never going to see each other again and they were going to die."
The airboat team says they've checked up on the family, who were taken to an area hospital, and they are all doing well.
The Wild Florida airboat team also helped with rescues after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma last year.