Family stranded by flood waters on campsite

3 months ago 25
PR Distribution

HILLSBORO — George Heathcote and his family were camping at the lake to celebrate his wife's birthday when when they woke up Thursday morning to waist-deep water right outside their trailer.

"My alarm was going off at five o'clock this morning on our car. I got up looking to my wife [Alice and] said 'oh my gosh, we're flooded. Get up, so we can get out of here.' But we never left, and we got no place to go. I can't get out and we got no place to go. Hopefully it all recedes in a couple," Heathcote told WRTV via Zoom on Thursday.

George, Alice and their daughter Jazmyne, 14, are stranded at the Sugar Mill Lake and Campgrounds about 70 miles west of Indianapolis near Hillsboro in Fountain County.

The Lafayette family has been visiting this campsite regularly for about six years. They've had flooding before, Heathcote said, but never like this.

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Zoom screenshot

George Heathcote

"We've been flooded three times since I've been here but it only gets up to about 13 feet from our trailer. And today, it just got real bad," Heathcote said. "It was raining last night about two o'clock. And then, there wasn't much, but we, so I just went back to sleep and then this morning my alarm was going off in our car because it's flooded."

"Good thing I got insurance I guess."

Their camper-trailer is dry and still has power, but the family's car is submerged in water about four foot deep.

Heathcote said about 10 people in all are stranded with them at the campground. Everyone, he said, has enough food and water to last for a few days at least.

If it gets any worse, Heathcote said his family can hike out to safety.

Things might be drying out for the Heathcotes and their neighbors, WRTV Meteorologist Todd Klaassen said.

"The rain is done. I would think the water would recede as most of it was flash flooding and the rain ended there a couple hours ago," Klaassen said.

"However, looking at that map it looks like it is on a lake so I can't be sure if the lake levels are high or if river is running into it. If there's a river, water could still be rising if they are downstream."

Meteorologist Kyle Mounce noted that there are no flood alerts in effect for Fountain County.

Heathcote said he's not afraid because the water level appears to be dropping. He said his family is hunkered down and trying to make the best of it.

"I'm living the dream," he said.

Contact WRTV reporter Vic Ryckaert at or on Twitter: @vicryc.

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