Louisiana flooding unearths caskets from cemeteries
Record flooding in Louisiana is causing caskets to float to the surface in several cemeteries in southwestern parts of the state, according to local TV station KBMT.
The issue is somewhat common in low-lying cemeteries when waters rise, especially in the South. Last year, cemeteries in South Carolina dealt with unearthed caskets during that state's record flooding in October.
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 and Ike in 2008 also caused caskets to float from their resting places.
"We have lots of experience, unfortunately with Katrina, Rita and Ike, in recovering caskets, and it's just not good for family members to be out in the cemetery," warned Calcasieu Parish Coroner's Investigator Zeb Johnson in an interview with KMBT.
Johnson said it can be not only heartbreaking but also dangerous for loved ones to attempt to retrieve concrete vaults and caskets.
"Do not go to the cemeteries," Johnson said. "These vaults weigh 1,600 to 1,800 pounds; caskets are full of water and if they are full of water, we know how to handle that and take care of it."
Record flooding is inundating the Sabine River, which forms part of the border between Louisiana and Texas, due to last week's phenomenal rain. Officials shut down Interstate 10 in southeast Texas because of the flooding, the Associated Press reported.
Deweyville, Texas, is also reporting its highest flood levels on record, forcing the town's 1,000 residents to evacuate. The river should crest at a record-high 33.5 feet later Tuesday or early Wednesday, the National Weather Service said.
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