Trapped campers, swimming bears in Montana as floods hit US | 6/22/2018 | Staff
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Helicopters rescued people stranded by flooding in Texas and Montana, including 140 children and counselors stuck in a mountain bible camp for two days, as severe storms swept the Rockies and the Midwest.

Campers attending the Montana Wilderness School of the Bible near the small town of Augusta were lifted out Thursday after a washed-out road cut off the only exit. Montana was just drying out from spring flooding caused by near-record snowfall over the winter when a storm unleashed rain over the past three days.

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Texas also saw deluges all week. The soaking in both states comes in stark contrast to the tinder-dry conditions of the American Southwest, which is experiencing drought and an early wildfire season.

Floodwaters running through two cabins and staff housing woke up the Montana campers Tuesday, counselor Dustin Steele said.

Dryers - Sleeping - Bags - Clothes - Thursday

"The dryers were going constantly trying to keep the sleeping bags and clothes dry," he said Thursday from the airport in Great Falls, shortly after campers were dropped off to meet their families. "It was hectic, but it was good."

They had enough food and supplies to stay until Friday but the decision was made to get them out. The Montana Army National Guard flew in two Chinook helicopters and made two trips each with about 30 campers and their luggage, Steele said.

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The 25-minute flight "was actually pretty loud," said Steele, 19. "You could hardly hear the person next to you."

Officials in far South Texas also used helicopters Thursday to rescue residents from flooded areas.

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Texas Department of Public Safety Lt. Johnny Hernandez said residents were being rescued by land and air in the Mission area, along the border with Mexico. First lady Melania Trump arrived in nearby McAllen as she made an unannounced visit to a facility housing migrant children.

Thunderstorms that have moved across Texas this week also have...
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