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Arts & Life

50 years later, man recalls being in Canyon Lake when the dam ruptured during flood

Dave Baumberger
From the book 'Surviving the '72 Flood'
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Johnny Sundby Photography
Dave Baumberger stands alongside Rapid Creek in western Rapid City, near the spot where his parents' home was flooded on June 9, 1972.

The attached audio above is from SDPB's daily public-affairs show, In the Moment.

The 50th anniversary of the 1972 Black Hills Flood is on June 9. It’s a time to honor the 238 lives lost, and it also brings a flood of memories for survivors. Every week between now and the anniversary, SDPB is featuring survivors' stories, in their own words.

This week, we hear from Dave Baumberger. He was near Rapid Creek in western Rapid City when the flood surge hit, and he took shelter in a home with eight other people. Only two of them, including Dave, survived.

When the house broke apart, floodwater carried Dave into Canyon Lake. Then the dam ruptured, and he was swept a couple of miles downstream.

He tells this story from the site where it happened alongside Rapid Creek.

An SDPB documentary about the 1972 flood is in production now. Stay tuned for information about that this spring.