I was not quite 13 at the time of the flood and living on Crosby Creek in Hornell. Today I was just interviewed by my daughter for a class project about the flood - now going on 37 years later. Late the evening before the flood, I had been to Bath with my Mom and we returned home around 9:30 pm and there was just a little mist in the air. The next morning around 5 am we were awakened by our neighbor pounding on our windows (I presume telephones were out) hollering that our horses were in flood waters and needed rescuing. One of my brothers was in a cast following knee surgery and my Dad hollered to my other brother to help him as he rushed to the barn to rescue the horses. He had to wade through knee-deep water to get their lead ropes and halters from the barn. We had a small pole barn and corral along side the bank of Crosby Creek. The horses were very spooked. I was not allowed to help or go near the high water or the horses. Dad had both horses haltered and leading them out of the water by the time my brother caught up to him. They took the horses to a farm on the hillside across from our house. I remember we had to evacuate our home that night as the Honey Run bridge had collapsed. There was a large tree above the bridge and it was feared it might lodge against the bridge and cause the flood waters to divert down through the houses on Crosby Creek. Our family and dog and other families went to the farm on the hill where our horses had been taken. The tree never did create a problem and we returned home after one night away. I also remember the helicopter crash very well. I was on my way up the hill to check on our horses when the helicopter flew over my head, having just come over the hill from the Almond Dam. After a minute, the helicopter flew into electric wires just down the road less than half a mile from where I stood. I saw the helicopter and heard the loud explosion. Moments later many from the neighborhood were rushing to the scene. My dad and brother arrived on the scene and the bodies had been covered up. Later we learned that my dad had known one of the men killed in the crash. He had grown up not far from my dad's family in the Prattsburg and my dad had also worked with him in the vineyards when they were young. About a year after the crash, the man's widow, young son (age 7 or 8) and parents came to our home for a visit and to see where the crash had occurred.
Tim (Deebs) and my uncle (Ernie Weyand) were the first to get there . If I remember correctly, half of Crosby Street went charging up that hill. I grew up on Flanagan Road, just oustside of town, off Crosby Creek. I will never forget that helicoptor hitting those wires. They bounced, then came down on 'em again. My Dad was helping my sister with her bike, they were facing the other way. I was pedaling like a bat out of hell, yelling to Dad. He thought I was kidding. The morning of the flood, Dad couldn't believe people were in trees, til the milk truck driver called to let us know that he couldn't get up to the farm, the road was gone. My Mom and Dad went down with the backhoe and fixed the road enough for the milk truck to get through. The water had taken a huge sluice pipe out like it was nothing. I took my kids to Corning Glass back in June, they still have the water level marked on the wall. They couldn't believe it. I was 7 years old when that flood hit, and I'll never forget it. Of course, none of the books talk about the rattle snakes that got washed down the river.....that was one wild two weeks.