The Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) rescued two people Dec. 28 in Santa Ana after they were swept away in a flood control channel following heavy rain in Southern California.
Authorities responded to a call about a person trapped in the flood channel at 4:53 p.m. near South Raitt Street and Edinger Avenue. When rescuers arrived, they searched the area and found a man and a woman, both adults, beneath a road, hanging onto a flood channel with heavy flowing water.
“They were under the overpass, so actually inside the tunnel—a small portion of the flood control channel. And they were hanging onto the side,” OCFA Cpt. Thanh Nguyen told The Epoch Times.
Rescuers immediately brought the pair life vests, while other members of the technical rescue team went downstream in case the individuals lost their grip and were swept away in the current.
Two rescuers then embarked on a small boat and went into the flood channel, eventually emerging out of the tunnel with the two stranded people safely aboard.
Nguyen said resources from the City of Costa Mesa helped aid in the rescue, adding that it was unclear how the individuals ended up in the water or how long they had been there before rescuers arrived.
“The water was moving pretty fast, and people need to realize that [when] there's rain coming, these flood control channels get water from everywhere, so they can quickly fill up,” he said. “And people need to be aware and stay clear of it, because there's a lot of force with that water.”
Nguyen said the woman suffered minor leg pain and was transported to a local hospital for further evaluation, but the man was unhurt and declined treatment.
He said rescues like these are unusual for the department, even after a heavy rain.
“We'll get reports occasionally that somebody sees somebody in the water. Usually it's unfounded,” Nguyen said. “But for the rescue that we had last night, that's not a common occurrence.”