Some people attempting to escape on their own grabbed pieces of wood or debris and fashioned makeshift rafts. But as they rowed, those trying to flee often struggled to stay above the water's level. Newspapers reported drownings when people tried to travel through the high water in the city streets.
When a dockworker tried to help a woman through a flooded area at Porte de la Gare, they both slipped and fell into a sinkhole. He was able to grab onto a tree, but she vanished into the water.