ELMIRA, NY (WETM)- 50 years later, Geoffrey Handel is recalling what he experienced as a helicopter pilot as a 25 year old.

“I had never seen such total inundation of an area. The flooding just was horrific… To see a two story house, floating down the river is just a sight to behold,” says Handel.

He says that while he was active duty, he’s dealt with some flooding before, but nothing like this. While he was there he had many tasks, but there were a few that stood out to him.

“I had a state highway patrolman that was riding along with us. He had his own set of radios and in addition to that, he was mic-ed up on the intercom so he could talk to us. One of the first things he said to us was, look at that lake down there, you see that lake and I said, well yeah, he says that’s a brand new housing development. All we could see was water, everything was totally flooded,” says Handel.

While the memories of the flood will never go away, Handel says he will never forget how helpful everyone was. He’s never seen so many people work together to get each out of harm’s way.