'It Killed Me': Survivor Recalls Texas Flood That Claimed Wife, Children - NBC 7 San Diego
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'It Killed Me': Survivor Recalls Texas Flood That Claimed Wife, Children

"In an instant it was on us, and there was nothing you could do and no way out," McComb said

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Wimberley Flood Survivor Reflects on Loss and Life

    One year after the husband and father watched his family slip away in the Wimberley flash flood, Jonathan McComb spoke with NBC 5's Meredith Land about loss and life. (Published Tuesday, May 24, 2016)

    Memorial Day weekend marks the anniversary of historic flooding that swept across much of Texas, claiming lives and ravaging the region.

    One year later, Jonathan McComb still remembers with incredible precision the night his family slipped away in the floods of Wimberley.

    "It was sunshine, we were in the river playing, barbecuing, radio playing, girls are laying out in their swim suits," McComb recalled.

    Nightfall brought epic rains.

    Raw Video: Drone Above Blanco River in Flood-Ravaged Hays County

    [DFW] Raw Video: Drone Above Blanco River in Flood-Ravaged Hays County
    Drone video from Steve Dunk above the Blanco River show the destroyed Fischer Store Road Bridge near the Comal County and Hays County line between Fischer and Wimberley, Texas.
    (Published Tuesday, May 26, 2015)

    "In an instant it was on us, and there was nothing you could do and no way out," McComb said.

    The Blanco River swelled 28 feet in an hour and a half, pulling the family's vacation home, where they were staying with the Carey and Charba families, from its foundation. The house was floating down the river.

    "When we hit the bridge, it took the whole second layer off. It was an awful, awful sound," McComb said.

    In the chaos, the families got split up. McComb remembers being alone in the cold river and praying.

    "I'd been under long enough and I said, 'I'm going home, I know what happened to everybody else and I just, you know, I'm too tired. I have nothing left in me,' so I just went limp underwater," he said.

    McComb said he struck a hard object, possibly a rock, and began fighting again and made his way toward shore. A stranger helped him and called an ambulance.

    Texas Woman Missing After Swept Away in Floods, Sister Recalls Dramatic Last Phone Call

    [NATL] Texas Woman Missing After Swept Away in Floods, Sister Recalls Dramatic Last Phone Call
    The sister of a woman swept away by Texas floods describes her last phone call as the cabin where she was staying floated away.
    (Published Tuesday, May 26, 2015)

    McComb spent several days in the hospital while search crews began looking for the bodies of his family and friends.

    "There was always hope, but I knew the second that I wasn't with them, they were gone," he said.

    McComb has spent the last year recovering at the family's home in Corpus Christi. His children's drawings and play table are set up just as they were. Their book bags still hang from hooks in the mudroom. Framed memories are everywhere and he has added some, too.

    "They were all incredibly unique and beautiful and I miss them," McComb said of his family.

    He said his young daughter, Leighton, came to him in a dream one night and brought him a sliver of peace.

    "I said, 'What happened?' She said, 'We're OK. We got picked up by a man on the river and it was Jesus.' That was huge for me, hearing that," McComb recalled, choking back tears.

    Honoring them, he said, means moving forward. McComb is renovating the master bedroom and bathroom — something he and his wife Laura had planned to do.

    "A new start. Unfortunately. It's not replacing anything. It's starting over and beginning again. We are here for a reason. You don't really know what that reason [is]; you just continue to have faith and it will be presented to you at some point," he said.