Mae Amburgey's Broken Heart: Woman, 97, who went viral with pic of her sitting in flooded home dies

Mae Amburgey's Broken Heart: Woman, 97, who went viral with pic of her sitting in flooded home dies
Mae Amburgey, 97, has died after struggling to fight the trauma of Eastern Kentucky flash flooding, which left her home submerged (Gregory Amburgey/Facebook)

WHITESBURG, KENTUCKY: Mae Amburgey, 97, died just three months after her photograph went viral on social media. The woman was pictured sitting on a submerged bed of her Whitesburg home, which was devastated by the Eastern Kentucky flash floods in July. Her death was announced by granddaughter Missy Amburgey Crovetti on Saturday, October 9. During the horrific floods, Amburgey was rescued along with three others as the city’s houses and cars got ravaged.

The disturbing video shot at the time Amburgey was rescued showed her being taken out from deep, filthy brown water to safety. According to Crovetti, the impact of the flooding ordeal was quite a lot for her to process and that ultimately led to despair and broke her from the inside. “I believe she died of a broken heart,” emotional Crovetti told the Lexington Herald-Leader.

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In the viral photo Amburgey can be seen sitting on a bed, holding her knees and surrounded by at least four feet of water. Crovetti said her grandmother had no idea that the heartbreaking video had gone viral.

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A good Samaritan had come to the rescue of Amburgey and her son, Jay Amburgey, using a floatie to help them get out of the flooded house. The 97-year-old woman had to swim for her safety to reach the boats waiting outside to help them. She was admitted to the hospital, before returning to her home. Amburgey noticed that almost everything had been ravaged or drenched in water by the flood, reported Daily Mail.

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Mae Amburgey's house was ravaged by the Kentucky flood in July (Facebook)
Mae Amburgey's house ravaged by the Kentucky flood in July (Facebook)

Crovetti, then created a GoFundMe page in August to help the elderly woman to rebuild her home, whom she called an "incredible force." “Her house is a total mess and like so many from the area, she may not have flood insurance.” The granddaughter also wrote, “Any help would be greatly appreciated. She never lived outside of Ermine, Kentucky, and would very much like to stay home.” After her grandmother's passing she wrote, “While our hearts are completely broken, we are also relieved that she is no longer in pain." 

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The page was able to garner $16,597 in support of Amburgey, and since her death, it is unclear how this fund will be now used. Amburgey's funeral took place on Saturday, October 15 at the Letcher Funeral Home in Whitesburg, the report said.

The historic flood claimed 43 lives, three months after hitting Eastern Kentucky, said Governor Andy Beshear on Thursday, October 13, during a press briefing. As per the official statement of August 1, the Kentucky National Guard carried around 700 air rescues over a stetch of a week, and another 600 by boat.

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