Volunteers are using monster trucks and jet skis to rescue people after Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey volunteers to the rescue.
Hurricane Harvey volunteers to the rescue.
Image: AP Photo/David J. Phillip
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An army of volunteers is using monster trucks, jet skis, and private boats to carry out remarkable rescues a week after Hurricane Harvey first hit Texan cities.

A fleet of monster trucks joined the rescue efforts in Houston, where a paralyzing storm has killed at least 47 people and damaged more than 100,000 homes. In one viral video posted on Facebook, a monster truck is seen pulling a US army vehicle out of deep floodwaters in in northwest Houston.

The drivers of the monster trucks are reportedly assisting first responders struggling to reach neighborhoods where the flooding is severe, with some of the monster trucks being used ferry firefighters and paramedics to survivors. They were part of a larger response team, which included 200 boats, 300 regular trucks, and 600 people.

The volunteer rescue effort has come to define Hurricane Harvey. They have played a crucial role in assisting the police, firefighters, the National Guard, the Coast Guard, and other government agencies by plugging gaps in manpower and reaching flood-ravaged neighborhoods. At times, authorities had to turn away volunteers from areas where there were already too many boats in the water.

Jet skis and private boats are also playing an important role in the rescue effort. An impromptu flotilla—where a dozen or so volunteers piloted jet skis, dinghies, and bass boats—took to west Houston to transport hundreds of residents out of danger. The volunteer flotilla worked closely with the authorities; they were paired with professional rescue workers when possible, and dispatched to help stranded residents.

The most notable jet ski rescue occurred a few days ago (Aug 31), when the manager of Chick-fil-A sent her husband to transport two regular customers, a stranded elderly couple, to safety. The photo, featuring the grandmother sitting on the back of a jet ski while the rescuer gives a thumbs up, has since gone viral.