Debbie, Tiffany and Amanda Este
New Orleans, 9/9/05, reported by Jennifer Pangyanszki, CNN:
For three days they waited, sweating and stripped nearly naked because of the 110 degree heat, with no food and running out of water. The rising water reached the attic and threatened the survival of anyone inside the yellow-sided, single-story house.The surviving family is now in Baton Rouge, Lousiana.
During half the time they were trapped, the body of Debbie's mom, Melissa Harold, 68, who didn't make it through the ordeal, lay lifeless on the attic floor. [...]
By Monday evening, the 68-year-old woman's condition had deteriorated and her daughter and granddaughters knew she was dying. Six months earlier, she had suffered from congestive heart failure.
'Her breathing was getting slower, she kept saying she wanted water,' Tiffany said, but the sips from the almost-empty bottle were not enough.
Melissa Harold, a former newspaper reporter, passed away a day and a half after climbing into the attic. 'We told her we loved her, and she said she loved us,' Debbie said, in tears. 'I told her I was sorry I couldn't help ... And she closed her eyes.'
Soon, the drinking water was gone. By Wednesday, the same water they had to urinate in started filling up the attic. They inched farther and farther back. [...]
During the rescue, more water poured in, raising the level in the attic. Holding her forefinger and thumb about six inches apart, Debbie said, "This much more and we would have been dead."