Hurricane Hazel - 50 years later October 1954 Hurricane Hazel


Hurricane Hazel Personal Accounts

Diana and Bobby Radley

Diana Radley and her brother Bobby were swept away from their mother as the boat they were being rescued in was overturned. Myers, the boat operator, said of the tragedy,

"I received the flood call at my house about midnight. Boats were being prepared to remove people along eight streets in the northern section of town. There was a slight wind and it was real dark as I reached the evacuation centre. My 7.5-horsepower outboard motor was put on one boat and I started my part of the rescue operations.

"We had gathered in about six families when I was instructed with another, a local fireman, to go to the Radley house and take out Mrs. Dorothy Radley, an expectant mother, and her children. There was Terry, 14, Sharon, 12, Dianna, eight, John, seven, and Bobby, four.

"I got the boat in close to the Radley veranda. The water was above the windows and the Radley family was sitting on furniture floating around the living room. Mr. Radley and the fireman placed the children and Mrs. Radley in the boat. They stayed behind. The boat wouldn't hold any more persons. I pointed the flashlight through the darkness and steered the boat out into the current.

"We had hardly gone 40 feet when the boat crashed into an underwater object, it might have been a fence post. The object ripped off the propeller and the engine stopped. Suddenly, there was a rushing of water, and the boat was picked up, twisted around in a circle and smashed against a big tree.

"The boat overturned and we plunged into the water up to our waists. There was a terrific current. I managed to get all of the children and Mrs. Radley on the overturned boat. I shouted for help and several firemen threw a life line. It fell short and drifted downstream. Then they formed together and started to wade out to us.

"The boat shifted and Dianna and Bobby plunged screaming into the water. I couldn't find them in the darkness. We managed to get Mrs. Radley and the other children into another rescue boat and to dry land. They have only found Dianna."

Globe and Mail, October 18, 1954

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