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Cows belonging to farmer Tim Wiff in Martell were caught in the flooded Rush River Wednesday.

Flooding causes local cows to be washed away in Rush River

TOWN OF MARTELL--Tim Wiff, a farmer who owns land near Martell on the Rush River, said he received a startling phone call from Pierce County authorities around 8 a.m. Wednesday about his cattle being caught in the flooded Rush River.

Wiff said he didn't even know his cattle encountered flood waters on the river which separates his pastures located just north of Martell. That was the first he had heard about his cows being caught in the waters.

"They must have tried to cross the river," he said. "There is a building where they eat on the other side."

The cows, all of which were pregnant, were swept south on the flooded river, some of them even miles downstream.

Wiff quickly drove down to Martell, where farmers and neighbors began to help find the cows, which were slowly escaping the flooded Rush River.

Many of them were able to break out of the waters around Martell, and at least 50 of them were located in town around 10 a.m. With the help of others, Wiff was able to herd the cattle down Hwy. 63 to a field near Martell, temporarily stopping traffic. They were then picked up by trailer to be brought back home.

Wiff, who had 79 cows at the time of the flood incident, was still missing three of them by Friday evening. Some were located as far away as El Paso, which is three miles south of his land.

Wiff said the cows had a couple of bumps and bruises, but nothing as far as serious injuries.

See more of this story in the Aug. 18 edition of the Herald