Ike Search and Rescue Frustrating

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Reports of injuries and deaths in the wake of Ike are slow coming in as rescue crews are still hampered by impassible conditions in some areas.

Watch the video on this page to see residents of Kemah, Texas accessing the damage to their property.

Two people were killed by the storm in Louisiana and one death is confirmed in Texas, while a 19-year-old swept away on a jetty is yet to be found. Also, one network television news program is reporting a ten year old boy in Houston wask killed by a falling tree limb.

Sunday morning brings Ike waivering between a tropical storm and depression as it slowly moves out of Texas and into the Mississippi Valley. AccuWeather.com forecasters say it poses a serious threat for flooding.

The National Hurricane Center tracked the storm as of 10:00 p.m. CDT to be located about 60 miles north of Texarkana and about 100 miles west-southwest of Little Rock Arkansas.

SEARCH AND RESCUE ONGOING

Rescue crews are working in shifts around the clock to find stranded residents who didn't or couldn't evacuate.

"When you stay behind in the face of a warning, not only do you jeopardize yourself, you put the first responders at risk as well," Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said. "Now

we're going to see this play out."

Texas leaders agree and expressed frustration over the situation.

"This is a democracy," said Mark Miner, a spokesman for Texas Governor Rick Perry. "Local officials who can order evacuations put out very strong messages. Gov. Perry put out a very strong warning. But you can't

force people to leave their homes. They made a decision to ride out the storm. Our prayers are with them."

MANY VICTIMS MAY HAVE REGRETTED DECISION TO STAY BEHIND

It was a decision that some residents later regretted. Lisa Lee and her family were stranded on the roof of their Bridge City home with their two dogs.

Sheriff's deputies spotted them and drove in as safely as they could. Lee, her husband and 16 year-old brother, William Robinson, had to dive into the eight-foot deep floodwaters and swim to their rescuers. Their dogs paddled along with them.

They were taken to a local Baptist Church turned shelter for storm victims. Robinson told reporters, "It was like a dream," as he and his sister attempted to recover from the ordeal at the church shelter.

Many local officers and rescue workers believe it could take a week to get to everyone who is stranded.

"We will be doing this probably for the next week or more. We hope it doesn't turn into a recovery," said Sheriff's Sgt. Dennis Marlow in Orange County, where more than 300 people had to be rescued from flooded homes. He said that was only "a drop in the bucket" compared with the number still stranded.

Crews had to wait-out half the day on Saturday for winds to die down before they could start searching for many victims trapped in some of the hardest hit areas.

Governor Perry is calling it "the largest search-and-rescue operation in the history of the state of Texas."

One man pulled from danger in the rescue mission was Ronnie Sharp, 65, along with his dog Princess.

"I was getting too many snakes in the house, otherwise I would have stayed," Sharp said. He said he lost everything in the flood but his medicine and some cigarettes.

Sedonia Owens, 75, stayed behind in Galveston with her son, Lindy McKissick, to ward off looters.

The Associated Press reports she was armed with a shotgun watching flood-waters recede from her neighborhood.

"My neighbors told me, 'You got my permission. Anybody who goes into my house, you can shoot them'," Owen said according to the AP.

IT COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE

Authorities agree the good news is that so far there have only been a few deaths associated with the storm.

The storm surge didn't get as bad as expected with records showing only 15 feet high waves instead of the estimated 25 to 50 foot waves anticipated.

Since Ike wasn't as strong as feared, damage reports from several of the nation's largest refineries weren't as bad either. However, it didn't stop fear over gas prices where in parts of the country it cost as much as five dollars a gallon.

More good news came Saturday when 22 men aboard a stranded freighter were rescued by a tug-boat after surviving a stormy night in the water as Ike moved through the gulf before coming ashore.

It rained water and glass in dowtown Houston where Ike's high winds shattered window after window in high-rise buildings througout the nation's fourth largest city.

President Bush declared Texas a disaster area and gave an executive order releasing immediate federal aid to the area.

Ike spared southwest Louisiana from a direct hit but did move 30 miles inland flooding thousands of homes already soaked previously on Labor Day by Hurricane Gustav.

Sources: Associated Press, ABC News One, AccuWeather.com, National Hurricane Center

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