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Biker caught in Hanksville flooding: “You had 45 seconds to move fast”

Zac Bookman, CEO of OpenGov, says he had about 45 seconds to get out of the way before floodwaters swamped the town of Hanksville, near Capitol Reef National Park. Photo: Wayne County Sheriff's Office

HANKSVILLE, Utah — A man who was biking across the country is telling his scary story of being stuck right in the middle of flash flooding in Hanksville.

OpenGov CEO Zac Bookman left Redwood City, Calif. in late August. He hoped to bike more than 4,000+ miles across the country. The plan: to support and thank local government leaders and raise funds for the Sandra Day O’Connor Institute for American Democracy.

Wednesday afternoon, he found himself biking through Capitol Reef National Park, when it started to rain.  

Hanksville flooding: From a creek to a river in seconds

Bookman and his group arrived in Hanksville to find a place to stay, when the flash flooding roared through the streets.

“We get in the room, and it went from a little creek to a river,” he said. “We grabbed our stuff, and you had about 45 seconds to really move fast.”

Bookman says he grabbed the bikes, and his dad tried to move the car out of the way.

“He got the car to within 15 yards of safety, and a wall of water hit it, and the car shut off — he had to open the door and run out,” Bookman said. “I’m wading across with the bikes, and other people are behind us whose cars got trapped. Our car floated about 100 yards.”

Superman Dan to the rescue

Bookman says everyone in town is helping each other today in every way possible.

“We got the car towed out by a guy the locals know as ‘Superman Dan,’” Bookman said. “He’s got a 40 inch lift on his truck. The kindness of the locals has been unbelievable. The folks across the street have cabins, and they put us and other people from the motel in there, no questions asked.”

Bookman says he won’t give up on the cross-country bike ride just yet. But he does plan to regroup before proceeding. 

“We are safe, and folks are safe, and it’s the human life that matters. But it’s a really sad situation. There are other communities that have been devastated down here, there are a lot of homes and mobile homes that people are trying to dig out. It’s a really tough morning here for a lot of people.”

Thursday, the Hanksville mayor and his family started a GoFundMe* to help residents hit hard by the flooding. You can find more information here

*KSL NewsRadio does not assure that the money deposited to the account directly benefits the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisers and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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