Ohio man says he drove through flood to save hundreds of exotic pigeons


CINCINNATI, OH (WCMH) – A man whose drive through Cincinnati floodwaters was cut very short says he had a good reason to do what he did.

Cellphone video captured Rick Leimann trying to drive through floodwater near Cincinnati last Sunday in Cincinnati.

He says he didn’t realize how deep the water was, WCPO reported.

“I drove through it earlier Sunday morning and it was about a foot, foot-and-a-half.  My truck’s got 20 inch tires.  I thought I would be all right,” said Leimann.

Then, his truck hit something under the water and blew a tire. That’s when Leimann had to bail out through the driver’s side door window.

“When I got down here and the water’s here.  So, I grabbed the door like this and I realize that the water is pushing the truck toward the harbor and out there it’s 40/50 deep,” said Leimann.

Police urge people not to do what Leimann did, but he was determined to get back to his boat shop, where he breeds exotic pigeons.

“The whole reason I did this to get across is I have 300 exotic birds in the back of my boat shop,” said Leimann. “When I got back there, the water was about a foot away from them.”

Leimann has breeds from the Middle East, England and India. He breeds them and sells them around the world. He says he has been raising and showing pigeons since he was a child.

“I’ve just sold 12 birds to China and they went for $22,000.  The most I ever got for a bird was $10,000,” said Leimann. “If the water got in here I couldn’t replace the breed I have. That’s why I had to get here. Besides, I love them like my kids. They’re living animals and I would sacrifice myself for my animals.”

While he acknowledges driving through floodwaters was a bad call, he says he would do it all over again to save his birds.

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