Rapid City family talks about loss of three kids during flood - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Rapid City family talks about loss of three kids during 1972 flood

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This weekend we've been bringing you stories on this 40th anniversary of the Rapid City flood.

We met a Rapid City family who was a family of seven in 1972. They lost three children, all boys because of the flood but two girls who are now women and their parents are still here to share their story.

Why writing a book inspired them to move forward.

40 years ago seems like a long time to many but to the Masters the memories on the night of June 9th will forever be engrained in their brains.

The Masters say the storm came out of nowhere dumping inches of water in just a matter of hours.

The family lived on the western side of town near Rapid Creek.

Ron Masters says when the family was scared by the creek sweeping its way through their house he loaded all five children and his wife into the car to leave the area

"Unbeknown to us, the course of the dam had burst, we got up, just turned a little short corner then turned around, started across the street across the bridge, but when we hit the middle of the bridge, the first wall of water caught us."

"Although this bridge is back in service now, 40 years ago, the masters say they were trying to cross it, and it collapsed, sending them downstream."

Master says the water caused their car to spin backwards.

He says it continued to flow down the street eventually coming to a halt.

"The next thing we know, we suddenly came to a sudden stop."

The car was stopped by two trees only held on by the corner of the cars bumper.

Master says he was forced to kick the cars window open making his way out of the car.

Masters wife LaVonne says she felt like she felt like she was dying.

"My head was up to the ceiling and I thought, I'm going to die. In fact, I began to feel what it feels like for the soul to actually leave the body."

But LaVonne says she and her daughter were pulled from the car and held onto a nearby tree.

She says while making their escape their two year old son Tim was swept down river which still left three of the Masters children in the back seat of the car clinging to life.

After five hours of fighting the raging floods their daughter Joann who was still in the submerged car started calling out for her parents.

"They didn't answer and so I started to think at this time that I was all by myself, I had lost my whole family."

Joann was the only child in the car still alive. The ten year old says her father heard her screams.

She says he came over to the window and pulled her from the car saving her life.

Her brothers Stephen, Jonathan and Timothy lost their lives in the flood.

The book the Masters wrote is called, 'Some through the Flood.'

They've traveled all over to share their story.

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