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'The first thing I thought was I'm going to die' | Kentucky woman lucky to be alive after car swept away in flash flooding

Major Bill Matney with Greensburg Fire and Rescue said the woman is lucky to be alive after her car was taken over by floodwaters.

GREEN COUNTY, Ky. — A South-Central Kentucky woman says she’s blessed to see another day after she found herself caught up in flash flooding over the weekend caused by severe storms.

Just on the line between Green County and Adair County, Annette Slaven was rescued by Greensburg Fire & Rescue and neighboring rescue teams in a nearby creek early Saturday morning.

First responders say between the water’s temperature and the strong current, it’s a miracle she’s alive. They say more than a foot of water flooded their roads, and Slaven got caught up in it.

As of Monday in Coburg, Kentucky, it’s calm. But over the weekend, three teenagers also found themselves stranded, sitting on top of a car as flooding on roads and bridges threatened anyone who dared to move through them.

They were lucky, but Slaven, at least at first, got the worst of the storm.

Grateful -- Thankful to God that I’m still here with my family,” she said.

Slaven was barely seen as she gripped tight to a tree Saturday morning as water began rising in a nearby creek.

She held on for more than two hours after she was swept away from her car.

“Like an idiot – thought I could drive up the little embankment to get to higher ground, but it just started spinning me around and at that point, I was just floating, and it just sucked me into that main creek,” she explained.

Major Bill Matney with Greensburg Fire and Rescue said Slaven was lucky to be alive.

“Normally within the first 15 to 20 minutes, hypothermia takes its toll,” he said. “It’s amazing she was able to hang on that long.”

RELATED: Five tornadoes confirmed in Kentucky, National Weather Service says; State of emergency in effect 

Substantial flash flooding made its way through the county that morning and while Slaven said she knew the risk, she heard her granddaughter might have been in danger at her home across town.

She told WHAS11 News that she was not thinking straight as she attempted to drive across the bridge through the debris to get to her. It left her stuck.

“My car went underwater. The first I thought was, 'I'm going to die,'” she said.

Fire and rescue crews got to Slaven before she was swallowed up.

They said not everyone is that fortunate and want people to understand what’s at stake in storms like these -- and to make smart choices. Crews got Slaven out safely and transported her to a hospital that day. On Monday, she even was able to go to work, after recovering from minor injuries.

Emergency crews in Green County said they received help from neighboring departments like Taylor County EMS.

As far as serious damage, they said they were lucky. There were reports of wind damage in some areas but otherwise fairly unscathed.

RELATED: Flooding, storm damage prompt road closures across parts of Kentucky

RELATED: One of five tornadoes confirmed in Taylor County; crews survey damage

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