Watch: Rescue worker saves man trapped in raging LA river; cliffside homes collapsing into ocean

Local news crews in the Los Angeles area captured stunning live video footage Wednesday of a rescue worker saving a man who’d become trapped in the rain-flooded Los Angeles River amid the outpour from an atmospheric river storm that’s been sweeping California.

While it’s not clear how the man became trapped in the first place, the video footage shows him desperately clinging to a “concrete sheer wall” as a rescue worker is dangled over him by a helicopter.

As the footage proceeds, the rescue worker is slowly lowered until he’s right next to the clinging man. The rescue worker then tries to attach some straps to the man so that he can be hoisted up to the helicopter but is foisted by high winds and rain.

The man eventually loosens his grip on the “concrete sheer wall” and both he and the rescuer are flung about as the rescuer continues trying to secure him to the hoist.

Watch the remarkable rescue below:

Fortunately, both men made it out OK.

According to local station KTLA, the rescue began around 5:00 pm after the authorities received a report about the man trapped in the river.

Following the rescue, the victim was airlifted to the LAC+USC Medical Center to be treated for hypothermia.

“LAFD ground and air crews have systematically surveyed the area, and no other victims have been discovered,” officials reportedly said.

The rescue comes as an atmospheric river storm “is walloping storm-ravaged California, inundating cities already flooded by recent rain and forcing residents to flee – or risk not getting help if they need it,” according to CNN.

“About 30 million people across the state were under flood alerts as the 11th atmospheric river to hit the West this season slammed Northern California on Monday and took aim at central and Southern California on Tuesday,” the outlet reported earlier in the week.

The man rescued Wednesday is just one of many who’ve reportedly had to be rescued in recent days. Among the rescued have been many drivers.

“Despite countless warnings and barricades blocking rivers and flooded roads, authorities say many drivers still ignore the signs and continue driving through submerged streets,” KTLA notes.

“As rainfall hit Southern California, the wet weather created treacherous conditions including flooded roads, destructive mudslides and a spike in water rescues. As heavy rainfall flooded nearby streams and rivers, some residents became trapped by the rushing waters.”

In fact, on the same day as the rescue in the LA area, over in Jurupa Valley, a couple was almost swept away into the Santa Ana River.

“The water just came out of nowhere. We saw people on the other side and we waved for help from them,” Casey Roberts, a man who was rescued, said.

“The water, it got to be too much to where we kind of got anxiety but we’re good,” Brittney Dixon, who was rescued with Roberts, added.

Meanwhile, in nearby Menifee, four others reportedly got trapped when their vehicle was flooded out in the middle of the street.

“They put safety gear on all of the passengers and the driver, which is a helmet, a flotation device, and a vest and were able to walk them out,” Maggie Cline De La Rosa  of Calfire/Riverside County Fire said.

Over in Pajaro, which is near San Jose, dozens of trapped families had to be rescued last week after flood waters overwhelmed the town.

“According to Curtis Rhodes with CalFire first responders were able to evacuate around two-thirds of Pajaro before the flood waters arrived but hundreds were still trapped behind the rising waters midmorning on Saturday,” station KSBW reported.

“Some of the water that comes across the road is about four to five feet right now and your standard vehicle can not get across it,” Rhodes said.

In one case, one vehicle got completely submerged, causing the driver to have to hop onto the top of her car to survive.

“Lizbeth Hernandez, 18, was discovered standing on top of her four-wheel drive vehicle submerged at least 8 feet underwater, according to estimates from officials at the scene. Rushing floodwaters dragged her inoperable vehicle roughly 20 yards off the roadway with no safe route back to dry land,” according to the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

She reportedly wound up spending an hour standing on the car before she was discovered and subsequently rescued.

“She was experiencing numbness in her lower extremities so we just kept talking to her and keeping her informed that help is coming and just trying to do our best to keep her focused,” Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Shon Leonetti said.


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