Man braves floodwater to save stranger

POSTED: 03:25 PM MDT Jul 11, 2013    UPDATED: 01:24 PM MDT Jul 12, 2013 
MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. -

A woman is alive Thursday thanks to a Colorado Springs man who risked his life during the flash flood.

Most people tried to get out of the flood's path Wednesday. Julian Carrozza walked into it. He hiked Manitou Avenue because he had a sudden feeling someone needed help.

He thought he saw a boulder in the middle of the road. Debris was rushing down the road; the flood's water was pushing it over a cliff.

Carrozza walked back down to the road to safety but something didn't feel right. He turned around and walked closer to the boulder.

It turns out, the boulder was a woman covered in mud and debris.

"I saw that same rock again. I waved my stick and that's when I got the most remarkable response I ever had in my life. The rock just lifted its arms up and I knew right then and there that it was a person," said Carrozza.

Carrozza knew he had to act fast. The woman was stranded only a few feet from the edge of the cliff. He couldn't wait for rescuers. He decided to brave the waters for a stranger.

"These big bricks right here, it's amazing she wasn't even killed because this is stuff that she was surrounded by that was flowing all the way around her," said Carrozza.

The woman was in a car along Manitou Avenue when the flash flood erupted. The water was too much for the car. She tried to climb to safety but she didn't make it.

"She was probably at least 500 feet that she had swepted down -- tumbled actually because her clothes were all tattered and things like that and it was a very wild, wild experience," said Carrozza.

The woman had road rash. She was scraped and bruised. Carrozza thinks she had minor head injuries. Carrozza supported the woman with his shoulder. The two walked to safety.

Carrozza saved her life, but he wouldn't call himself a hero.

"It's a flattering term but I wouldn't want to apply it to myself," said Carrozza.

Carrozza said he made the right decision even if it could have cost him his life.