Flooding (archive image)
Flooding (archive image) ISTOCK

Flash floods in Kentucky killed at least 16 people with rescue crews working with inflatable boats to save victims stranded by floodwaters.

Along with heavy rainfall, mudslides were also reported along with the flooding in the Appalachian mountain regions of eastern Kentucky, where thunderstorms deposited several inches of rain in the last 72-hours, the Associated Press reported.

On Friday, the National Guard and search and rescue teams combed the area for missing people as record levels of flooding left some of the poorest towns in the United States under water.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said that at least 16 people died in the flooding, with the figure expected to rise as the rain continues.

Whole towns were swallowed up by the powerful Appalachian valley flooding, with houses and businesses underwater and ruined cars sitting in heaps.

Over 33,000 people were without power as of Friday morning.

Beshear told the Associated Press that the death toll was expected to double, including children, as the search continued.

“The tough news is 16 confirmed fatalities now, and folks that’s going to get a lot higher,” Beshear said on Friday morning.

There have been around 50 air rescues by emergency crews and hundreds of water rescues, with more residents needing assistance, he added.

“This is not only an ongoing disaster but an ongoing search and rescue. The water is not going to crest in some areas until tomorrow,” he said.