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Mangum man saves drowning calf from flood waters

Published: Jun. 14, 2021 at 5:58 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 6:14 PM CDT
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MANGUM, Okla. (KSWO) - Severe flooding nearly claimed the life of a calf, but one Mangum man’s quick actions saved the day.

On Sunday, Koby Bates said the rain just kept coming down in Mangum.

“Above the asphalt, it was about two feet. It was rolling. It was like the roaring rapids pretty much. I think we got somewhere around 6 to 7 inches in about two and a half hours. Everything was flooded. The town was flooded. There was water in everyone’s houses in Mangum and I knew the animals were in trouble,” Bates said.

One of those animals, a calf owned by the neighbor of Bates.

“She came across this road, over the tinhorn, and got caught on the other side of the barbed wire fence. I knew the calf had to be saved because there wasn’t any way she could come across the barbed wire fence,” Bates said.

Bates quickly jumped into action.

“Her head was just bobbing, bobbing about a second in between below and above the water. I jumped over the barbed wire fence and I threw my phone out of my pocket and threw it, my wallet out and threw it, and my keys out of my pocket and threw it. As I was running, I was hopping and pulling my boots off then I just jumped in,” Bates said.

Once he was in the water, the real challenge started.

“Fighting that current is something that is very difficult to do, I don’t advise it by any means. It will pull you down, it pulled me down twice,” Bates said.

Bates eventually got to the calf and got a rope tied around her.

“I tied it as tight as I could and there were three guys sitting on the other side of the creek. They had multiple ropes tied together and they jerked her across,” Bates said.

Then the rope was tossed back to Bates and his friends helped get him back to safety.

“I don’t advise anyone doing it by any means. But I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I’d do it for anything, absolutely anything. My love for animals is tremendous,” Bates said.

Bates said as of Monday morning the calf was released back to her mama and the rest of the herd and doing great.

Many other parts of Mangum also experienced severe flooding. Greer County Emergency Manager Glynadee Edwards said it was very difficult surveying the damage because of how much water there was.

“I couldn’t even get into Mangum to start evaluating. I could listen to the scanner what the police were saying. They kept saying we’ve got to block this street, we’ve got to block this street, we’ve got to block this street,” Edwards said.

Edwards said they still don’t know exactly how much damage was done to homes by the storm but she encourages anyone who experienced damage to let them know by calling (580) 471-0076.

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