Written by: Jon Ostendorff
Candler-- Floyd Johnson was on the way to the hardware store Wednesday afternoon when he noticed the creek rising outside his home on the edge of Pisgah National Forest.
The normally small stream was threatening to flood his driveway.
So he stopped the car, got out and reached down into the cold water.
He tossed away some debris but slipped and landed face-first in the creek. He rolled over on his back but one leg was already stuck in the 18-inch-culvert and water was pushing him in.
He tried to stand up, but his other leg got sucked into the pipe.
"And I knowed I was gone so I just throwed my hands behind me and right through that culvert I went. Zip," he said Thursday.
Johnson traveled about 20 feet through the pipe under his driveway and came out the other side nearly unscathed. His wife heard him screaming and called for help.
Firefighters found him on the bank. He spent a few hours at Mission Hospital and was back home around midnight Wednesday.
He was sore and bruised on Thursday but said he was feeling fine, for the most part. His phone rang all day. Friends wanted to hear him tell his harrowing story.
Rescuers were busy with calls across the region after heavy rain caused flooding across Western North Carolina on Wednesday. High winds left thousands without power. But Johnson's ordeal was probably the most unusual of the storm.
Steve Hensley, chief of the Upper Hominy Fire and Rescue Department, which responded to the call, said most people do not survive that kind of accident.
Johnson, 72, gives credit to a higher power.
"I give it to the Lord," he said. "I have to."