Rescuers, Residents Shaken by Rising Colorado Floodwaters

PHOTO: Local resident Ben Rodman walks while helping a friend salvage her home after floods left homes and infrastructure in a shambles, in Lyons, Colo., Friday Sept. 13, 2013.
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Rescuers are rushing in to help those trapped by the rising floodwaters of Colorado, as neighborhoods and entire highways have been washed away by the catastrophic currents.

Four people are dead and more than 170 people are unaccounted for as the ferocious flooding continues to rip through the Centennial state.

With record rainfall plaguing Boulder, Aurora, Colorado Springs and El Dorado Springs, and more anticipated this weekend, communities are holding onto hope that they may be able to return to their homes soon.

The rains have washed out areas of New Mexico and Texas, forcing evacuations and making countless roadways impassable.

While President Obama declared a state of emergency and promised FEMA relief for the most devastated areas on Friday, it is unclear when the region will catch a break from the growing floods.

Communities Swept Away

Colorado residents are shaken by the devastation, as they watched their communities crumble before their eyes.

"The neighbors' house fell off into what was a little creek – it's now a raging river – it got swept away, gone," evacuee Lauren Townsend told ABC News. "There's pieces of houses, appliances floating down [the river]."

"There's no other word but catastrophic," one member of the National Guard told ABC News. "I've never seen anything like this."

Colorado Floods Claims Lives
Colorado Floods Claims Lives

The National Guard worked to airlift nearly 300 residents out of the stranded community of Jamestown, leaving residents wondering what will still be standing once they are allowed to return to their homes.

In Weld County, Colo., mobile homes have become toppled and submerged by the inconceivable flooding. As some residents try to plow out of the area in pickup trucks and on horseback, farmlands have become isolated on islands in the historic flooding.

A Race Against Time

As crews help to pull people from harm's way – pulling residents to safety on zip lines – one man said he is forever grateful to the rescuers who saved him from succumbing to the floods.

Roy Ortiz was on his way to work when his Pontiac Grand Prix got flung into the rapids on Thursday, as the roadway gave out to the flash flooding.

Ortiz was trapped in his overturned car and quickly sinking into the waters, with only a small pocket of air sustaining him as he waited for rescue crews to bring him to safety.

VIDEO: Thinking of his family and a pocket of air kept him alive for hours as he was swept away in his car.
Roy Ortiz's Harrowing Story of Survival in the Flood Zone

Once they arrived, Ortiz started knocking on his car "so they knew I was alive."

"Until we saw his hand waving at us in the window, we didn't know that anyone or how many people were possibly trapped inside the vehicle," said firefighter John Cook, who was one of the first to arrive to the scene.

Ortiz, a father of four, said he was able to stay calm in the perilous waters by thinking of his family.

"I had to pray because I wanted to survive," he said.

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