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LAFD Rescues Homeless from L.A. River Near Atwater Village

Thursday, May 16, 2019
Atwater Village
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Specially trained Los Angeles Firefighters safely rescued three homeless people from the rain-swollen Los Angeles River late Thursday morning.

A comprehensive ground and air response brought a pair of LAFD rescue helicopters, as well as dozens of Los Angeles Firefighters - including a pair of Swift Water Rescue Teams, to the broad concrete lined channel just north of Fletcher Drive, as well alternate rescue locations downriver.

Aided by ground-based firefighters who safely tethered their operations from alongside the channel, LAFD Swift Water Rescue Team members deployed an inflatable rescue boat to bridge the gap across the fast-moving water to access the stranded 33 year-old man and 37 year-old woman, who had reportedly been trapped on an island by rapidly rising water.

Briefly evaluating the man as they fitted him with a flotation vest, LAFD rescuers assured his safety during the brisk return to shore aboard the boat. Once ashore, the victims was medically evaluated by LAFD personnel and treated/transported for hypothermia.

A third well-intentioned man attempted to help these two and got swept 1/2-mile down river. With minor injuries, he was evaluated before declining an offer of ambulance transportation to a local hospital. 

LAFD and LAPD, along with LAPD's HOPE Team had gone through these same flood control channels prior to this current storm to warn the homeless occupants of these areas of the approaching danger in the forecast. This is a sober reminder of how quickly these waters can rise and how important it is to follow police and fire department warnings for evacuations, whether it is for water, wildfire, or any other life hazard.

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