Driver rescued from 100-foot-wide flash flood
The water was 3-feet-deep and moving quickly making it ‘extremely hazardous’ to reach him
By EMS1 Staff
NEEDLES, Calif. — Rescuers used a shallow water crossing rescue technique to save a man stranded in the middle of a 100-foot-wide flash flood on Thursday.
The San Bernardino County Fire Department responded shortly after 9:30 p.m. to a report of a man in truck trapped in rising waters on Needles Highway north of I-40, said Public Information Officer Eric Sherwin.
The water was about three-feet deep and moving at 16 mph, “making access to the truck extremely hazardous,” Sherwin said.
Because the man was conscious and able to follow verbal commands, rescue workers determined the situation was stabilized enough to wait until the flood waters subsided before making physical contact.
“It was safer to rescuers and the victim,” Sherwin said.
Firefighters were placed downstream as a contingency, while others used a single file formation to reach the man through the rushing, knee-deep water, remove him from the vehicle, and bring him to safety, Sherwin said.
There were no injuries, and the victim said he had driven through two previously washed out sections of the highway before getting stuck in the crossing, he said.
The department responded to a similar incident on Aug. 26, in which a woman was found dead in her vehicle two miles downstream from where she was trying to cross a flooded road just outside of Needles.