Wallonia, 61%: Man survives 4 hours in a flowing river

Roland Noirhomme, aged 61, was close to deciding if the floods in Belgium could have been disastrous. He was swept away in the River Aisne’s strong currents, and spent hours submerged in the water. The sun was already setting when rescuers could not get him to safety. Roland shared his story with the French-language newspaper L’Avenir.

The search for survivors in the affected areas of Belgium is still ongoing. Here and there, there is hope. Roland Noirhomme, a 61 year-old man, belongs to this category. He helped to evacuate and shelter three Scout camps. He wanted to get his horses safe. He was successful, but he ended up getting stuck in a shed surrounded by water. His son immediately called 911, but the emergency services already had enough.

The water rose and eventually the walls collapsed under the weight of the torrential water. Roland tried to remain calm but was being dragged along. He was unable to lift his head from the water for three hundred meters. He was submerged several times. Roland said that he wouldn’t fall in the riverbed under any circumstances as he could get injured on rocks and stones.

Roland was saved by the help of a tree at the banks the Aisne. He was able grab a branch. His son continued to follow him, shouting at him that they would help him. It took many hours, and it was hard to wait. Roland kept calling, making loud noises to try and give signs of life. It was even getting dark.

Roland saw rescuers and lanterns at one time and was eventually helped onto dry land. Although he had not suffered any serious injuries or fractures, he was still hypothermic. He was admitted to the hospital but was able return home to his family the next day.

The man is grateful for his luck. He is grateful that he was able to work hard as a supplier for a brewery. He might not have survived.

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