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Arts & Life

Woman recalls surviving '72 flood on floating roofs

Arlene Mattis.jpg
Max Tushla
Arlene Mattis, of Rapid City, talks about surviving a 1972 flood that killed 238 people.

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 June 9th. 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 sharing stories from those survivors, in their own words.

This week, we hear from Arlene Mattis. She was in a car that was swept up by the floodwaters of Rapid Creek in Rapid City. She and four other people survived together by hopping from one floating object to another in the water, until they were rescued.

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