floodwater rescue

MANSFIELD -- A drone video was released on Monday morning by Mansfield authorities showing the rescue of a man in a wheelchair who was missing Saturday night and found Sunday afternoon in waist-deep floodwaters.

Police say he was alert and talking with first responders when found, but there was no update on his condition Monday morning.

"It is with great relief that we announce that Mr. Wendell Jefferson has been found and is safe," said Capt. Shari Robertson of the Mansfield Police Department.

The video shows Mansfield police and firefighters rescuing Jefferson.

The 73-year-old Jefferson was reported missing just before 7 p.m. Saturday night. Police said he was located by a relative at approximately 4 p.m. on Sunday. He was located in a yard/field area off of Lafayette Street a small, sparsely traveled alley, off of Springmill Street.

"He was found in his motorized wheelchair, with water up to his waist," Robertson said. "Mr. Jefferson was alert and speaking to emergency medical personnel. He advised first responders that his wheelchair became inoperable after it was redirected off of the street and into the field by rushing water and mud."

Wendell Jefferson

Wendell Jefferson

Jefferson was transported to a local hospital by squad to be examined. No further updates are available on his condition at this time.

According to the original report, Jefferson, who has dementia, was last seen on his motorized wheelchair around 12:45 p.m. on Lawnsdale Ave.

The Mansfield Division of Police had deployed its Unmanned Aerial System (Drone Unit) in the area to assist in the search for Jefferson and was searching just north of his location when he was found.

"We would like to thank all of those who assisted us during the search as well as those who offered assistance," Robertson said. "We would, also, like to take a moment to remind the community of the dangers of flash flooding during heavy rains. Please stay diligent and aware of high-water areas."

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