Video: Nebraska family rescued from rooftop near King Lake

CJ Cunningham and his family escaped floodwaters after retreating to his rooftop and calling for help.

CJ Cunningham knew things were getting bad when the water was about ankle or knee-deep around 1 a.m. Friday, so he took his family as high as he could get them.

“We got up on that roof,” Cunningham said.

Then he called for help.

As emergency crews tried to make it to the Cunninghams’ house near King Lake, a small community near Waterloo, several vehicles got stuck. He said rescuers wrecked an airboat, then an eight-wheeler and a wheel loader failed to make it to the house.

Eventually, rescue crews persisted and the family was able to escape the rising floodwaters. Just hours before, he thought that — despite some warnings — his house would be safe. 

“We’re supposedly one of the highest spots on the lake and we thought we’d be good. But that’s just way more water than anybody was imagining. When they said 22-foot flood level, I had nothing to compare it to, so I didn’t know. 

“We should have just listened.”

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