A heroic helicopter rescue of a man desperately clinging to a wall after being swept into the raging Los Angeles River has surfaced as the state battled severe storm conditions.
Heart-pounding footage shows a first responder dangling over the rain-swollen river south of Washington Boulevard in the Boyle Heights neighborhood before pulling the man to safety.
Los Angeles Fire Department ground and air crews responded at about 5pm on Wednesday as the man, who is yet to be identified, clung for his life on a ‘concrete sheer wall.’
After the man was hoisted to safety, he was taken to LAC+USC Medical Center to be treated for hypothermia. No other injuries were reported.
A heroic helicopter rescue of a man desperately clinging to a wall after being swept into the raging Los Angeles River has surfaced as the state battled severe storm conditions
The dramatic footage shot by KTLA’s Sky5 showed the man desperately trying to stay above the churning muddy flood waters as an emergency crew member made several attempts to reach him.
Unforgiving high winds and rain appeared to stifle the rescue mission before the first responder managed to grab hold of the waterlogged man.
After attaching a harness around the man, the two were hoisted to safety, presenters from the broadcaster noting his severely red hands and face as he was lifted into the helicopter.
It remains unclear how the man came to be in the river or how long he spent in the frigid waters before he was rescued.
It comes as tens-of-thousands remain under evacuation orders as other Californians face blackouts, landslides, and flooding from the brutal winter deluge.
California Governor Gavin Newsom dubbed this extreme shift from drought and wildfires to flooding and snowstorms ‘weather whiplash,’ while surveying the damage to an agricultural region in the state’s central coast on Wednesday.
‘Look back [at] the last few years in this state—it’s been fire to ice, with no warm bath in between,’ Newsom said.
‘If anyone has any doubt about Mother Nature and her fury; if anyone has any doubt about what this is all about in terms of what’s happening to the climate and the changes that we are experiencing, come to California.’
Meanwhile, just days after officials in Orange County declared a local state of emergency, residents of four residential structures in San Clemente were forced to evacuate after a hillside at the rear of their properties collapsed.
Crews with the Orange County Fire Authority responded to the scene in Buena Vista after receiving a 911 call about the landslide shortly after 8 am.
Heart-pounding footage shows a first responder dangling over the rain-swollen river south of Washington Boulevard in the Boyle Heights neighborhood before pulling the man to safety
After the man was hoist to safety, he was taken to LAC+USC Medical Center to be treated for hypothermia. No other injuries were reported
Upon arrival, firefighters searched all three properties to ensure all residents were out of the buildings.
They then made safe and ‘yellow-tagged’ a fourth.
Drone footage shot after the evacuation showed the land beneath the properties collapsing and sliding down the hill.
Fire crews said the landslide made it all the way down to hill to the train tracks below.
Buena Vista, from Avenida Florencio to Calle Colina and the trail below, have been closed.
A swimming pool at the back of one of the properties can also be seen precariously close to the edge of the collapsing hillside.
Patio furniture from homes is shown to have been swept down the hill.
Resident Clayton Robinson spoke to KTLA 5. He’s the owner of the multi-unit apartment building that appeared to suffer the most damage.
‘We had a major retaining wall, and it went down and took about half of our yard with it, and we have a pool. It’s the pool that’s holding the rest of the yard in and the fire department right now is emptying the pool to take the pressure off the hill,’ he said.
Robinson also told the outlet that it’s possible they will lose everything and that his insurance company said it does not cover the hillside’s collapse.
‘It’s possible we have lost everything. We called our insurance and they said, well, they don’t cover hills going down. So all we have left is our faith in God.’
‘So we’re good, but it’s because of our faith, not because of our house.’
‘You don’t know what to think,’ said resident Salvador Olvera, whose home was evacuated.
‘We don’t live in this situation all the time, and you’d never think it’s happen to me.’
The mayor of San Clemente, who was at the scene, said landslides have been an issue for the entirety of the city’s coastline areas.
‘Erosion along our coast is really something that affects San Clemente’s entire coast,’ Mayor Chris Duncan said.
‘It’s not a surprise,’ Captain Thanh Nguyen of the OCFA conferred. ‘With the amount of rain that we’ve gotten and how much the landscape has been saturated with rain.’
While the rain tapered off by Thursday, forecasters warned another storm could arrive next week.
A swimming pool at a residential home in Orange County, CA on the edge of the hillside
Three homes were first evacuated and made safe by responding fire crews in Orange County
Overhead shot shows furniture from homes swept down the hill as buildings teeter on the edge
Residents said they feared they might have lost everything from the damage of the landslide
Residents of four residential structures in San Clemente were forced to evacuate after a hillside at the rear of their properties collapsed
Drone footage shot after the evacuation showed the land beneath the properties collapsing and sliding down the hill
‘At the Cypress Shore community on the south side of town, we did have a slope failure there, which has been stabilized by a tieback system and we haven’t seen movement there.
‘But along this stretch here, right along our beautiful beach trail here in San Clemente, if you walk on that trail, you can see that there has been loss on these slopes over time, so we’re concerned about the whole stretch.’
No injuries were reported from the incident.
The National Weather Service has recorded slightly under two feet of rain in downtown L.A. in 2023, making this year, so far, the 14th wettest in more than 140 years.
Heading into the weekend, the weather service has predicted minor precipitation across California, followed up by more substantial storms next week.