Backwater flooding unearths casket and vault, causing them to float in Yazoo County

Flooding at historic cemetery

Holly Bluff, Miss. (WLBT) -It’s been more than six months -- and parts of Yazoo County are still swamped with floodwaters. In the Holly Bluff Community, emergency officials are now dealing with a new problem: flooding at a more than 100-year-old cemetery.

Over at the Oak Grove Cemetery in the Holly Bluff Community. The water has caused a casket and vault float to the surface.

“This is an old fashion vault, so it's around two thousand pounds and the pressure from air trapped beneath it and the casket has pushed it up,” said Yazoo County Coroner Ricky Shivers.

Water is also surrounding the plots at the historic cemetery.

“I've always considered water to be one of the most powerful elements on earth. There is really nothing you can do about it because when the water comes up like these floodwaters have. This is going to occur, and this will continue to occur,” said Shivers.

Yazoo Coroner Ricky Shivers and emergency management Director Jack Willingham say they are now monitoring the gravesite.

“This is something we planned for, monitored, we are checking and we have certain people in the community checking,” said Willingham.

“Just to show respect to the families we are keeping our eye on it. If it gets to a worst-case scenario, we have to retrieve it, we want to retrieve and keep it safe so they can re-bury them. We know who the caretaker of the cemetery is and through him we will contact families,” said Shivers.

They say this is just another example of how the backwater flooding is negatively impacting a community already inundated with water.

“We still have 20 roads closed, we still 20 to 25 families who have been forced from their homes. The people of this area are really pushing to put pumps at Steele Bayou, so this situation won’t happen again,” said Willingham.

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