The red convertible was caught in the Louisiana floodwaters.
The Associated Press reports that the 53-year-old Brouillette met on Monday with Phung, her rescuer. Brouillette called him her “angel” and “savior,” according to the AP. She told him that she loved him.
“I know I don’t know you, but I love you,” Brouillette said during the reunion in Denham Springs, where she is staying on a temporary basis.
“It was nothing,” replied Phung, according to the AP.
Really, though, last month’s rescue effort in the south Louisiana floodwaters was pretty dramatic. Video from WAFB-TV, a CBS affiliate, shows murky waters around the red convertible, which is partly submerged. A boat approaches, carrying Phung and a couple of others. (The AP reported that they were Phung’s relatives.)
“Oh my God, I’m drowning!” Brouillette can be heard saying, as the rescuers try to break a window and attempt to rip through the convertible’s top.
Phung climbs on the car, jumps in the water and pulls Brouillette out, yanking her up as the convertible sinks down.
After she surfaces, though, Brouillette immediately cries out: “Get my dog!”
She repeats this, over and over, and the seconds tick by. Someone tosses a life jacket into the water. Brouillette tries to locate Sassy herself.
“Maybe she’s gone,” someone says as Phung ducks underwater.
“No, she better not be,” Brouillette says.
That’s when Phung reemerges, cradling Sassy.
“I got your dog,” he says.
Phung told the AP that he didn’t see the footage of the rescue until a couple of days later. He said he was “amazed” that he remained calm, adding: “I guess it was just the adrenaline took over.”
“We saw Hailey going down the road and we actually tried to stop her, but I don’t know if she heard us or not, or if she was trying to turn around,” he said. “But by that time, the water — she had gotten into a deep part of the water. That’s where you see the car started to sink. She was actually about to be in real trouble.”
Brouillette said the water “twirled us around like it was nothing.”
Before getting caught in the floodwaters, Brouillette said, she had been released from a hospital that morning after being treated for a kidney ailment. She was on her way to a pharmacy to get prescriptions filled when the car she said she borrowed from a friend was overcome by the water.“It still seems like a dream,” she said.She believes “divine intervention” also played a part in her survival.“He saved my life,” she said. “I don’t even know if I’m worth saving. I guess God said, ‘Yeah.’ ”
Floodwaters in Louisiana last month forced thousands into shelters and left more than a dozen dead. More than 70,000 people registered for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) called the historic flooding a “very serious event.”
Monday’s reunion happened after a volunteer met Brouillette, who lost her trailer, in a shelter. The volunteer had watched the video footage of Brouillette and Phung before she arrived in Louisiana, and spotted Brouillette a few days later.
Phung brought supplies to Monday’s reunion. The haul included food for Sassy, the dog, according to the AP.
“It’s just who we are in Louisiana. We help people in times of need,” he told the news agency. “I was put in that place to help her out.”