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'Raging beast': Campers rescued from flooded Stillwater River

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Posted at 8:50 PM, Jun 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-13 22:50:50-04

NYE — Camping trips are often adventurous but residents and campers in Stillwater County weren’t expecting to be evacuated after heavy floods permeated the area.

“The Stillwater was anything but still. It was a raging beast. It was just crazy,” said camper Justin Sheely of Billings.

Sheely, his wife and five-year-old daughter were staying at Woodbine Campground near Nye when they were told they needed to evacuate because of the flooding Stillwater River.

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“And we were kind of going, wow, okay,” said Sheely.

Nearly 70 campers moved their vehicles to higher ground and started walking toward the Stillwater River where they were met by search and rescue crews.

The family had to take a raft ride back to safety.

“We were seeing whole trees swept underneath the bridge,” said Sheely.

The family left their vehicle with about two dozen other cars, campers, and RVs.

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They weren’t the only ones stranded. Just down the road at the Stillwater Mine, miners couldn’t go anywhere. Nye Road was completely washed out.

Residents in Nye rushed to help their neighbors evacuate.

“It’s something that you can’t even dream about because there’s nobody that’s ever seen this,” said Nye resident Heath Benson, owner of the Nye Trading Post.

Many were piling sandbags right next to the store to try and protect properties as the water crept closer to homes.

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“We were trying to head the water off from this area right here so it wouldn’t flood the homes back up in here,” said Nye resident Matt Young, owner of Two Rivers Lodge in Nye.

Though multiple homes in Nye were flooded, community members were grateful that they had each other.

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