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Rockingham County water rescue proves dangerous to rescuers

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ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, N.C. -- Joel Madren feared for his life after his raft capsized during a water rescue Monday night.

"It was just unreal what the speed of the water was," said Madren, chief of the Reidsville Rescue Squad.

The squad was one of about half a dozen agencies called to the scene where a driver hydroplaned off County Home Road and into a flooded creek.

"The creek was so swollen and swift that it carried him and his vehicle 100 to 200 yards downstream," Madren said.

The first pair of rescuers found the victim, but their boat flipped over.

Madren and Lt. Roy Stewart of the Madison Rockingham Rescue Squad were sent in, but they soon needed to be rescued after their boat also capsized.

"He had no clue where I was,” Madren said. “I had no clue where he was."

Madren and Stewart held on to tree branches and started praying.

"Praying to God that you're going to make it out of there,” Stewart said. “It's just a scary situation."

Both men were found within minutes.

"Any near death experience just makes you thank the Lord," Stewart said.