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 endured severe storm conditions.
Heartbreaking footage shows a first responder dangling above 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 flight crews responded around 5 p.m. Wednesday when the man, who has yet to be identified, clung for life to a “concrete sheer wall.”
After being brought to safety, the man 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 endured severe storm conditions
The dramatic images created by Sky5 from KTLA showed the man desperately trying to stay above the swirling muddy floodwaters as an emergency crew member made several attempts to reach him.
Relentless high winds and rain seemed to choke the rescue mission before the first responder managed to grab hold of the waterlogged man.
After putting a harness on the man, the two were hoisted to safety, broadcasters noticed his severely red hands and face as he was lifted into the helicopter.
It remains unclear how the man ended up in the river or how long he spent in the freezing water before being rescued.
It comes as tens of thousands remain under evacuation orders as other Californians face blackouts, landslides and flooding from the relentless winter flood.
California Governor Gavin Newsom called this extreme shift from drought and wildfires to flooding and blizzards “weather whiplash” as he mapped damage to an agricultural area on the state’s central coast on Wednesday.
‘Looking back [at] in this state for the past few years — it’s been from fire to ice, with no hot bath in between,” Newsom said.
‘If anyone has any doubts about Mother Nature and her anger; if anyone has any doubts about what this is all about in terms of what’s happening with the climate and the changes we’re experiencing, come to California.”
Meanwhile, just days after officials in Orange County declared a local state of emergency, the residents of four San Clemente residential buildings were forced to evacuate after a hill collapsed at the back of their properties.
Orange County Fire Department crews responded to the Buena Vista scene after receiving an 911 call about the landslide shortly after 8 a.m.
Heartbreaking footage shows a first responder dangling above the rain-swollen river south of Washington Boulevard in the Boyle Heights neighborhood before carrying the man to safety
After being brought to safety, the man 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 make sure all residents were out of the buildings.
Drone footage taken after the evacuation showed the land under the properties collapsing and sliding down the hill.
A swimming pool at the back of one of the properties can also be seen perilously close to the edge of the collapsing hill.
Clayton Robinson spoke KTLA 5. He owns the apartment complex that seemed to take the most damage.
“We had a big retaining wall, and it went down and took about half of our yard with it, and we have a pool. It is the pool that holds the rest of the garden in and the fire service is currently emptying the pool to take the pressure off the hill,” he said.
Robinson also told the outlet that it’s possible they’ll lose everything and that his insurance company said it won’t cover the hill collapse.
“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,” Robinson said.
The mayor of San Clemente, who was on the scene, said landslides are a problem for the entire coastline of the city.
“Well, I mean, erosion along our coast is really something that affects the entire coast of San Clemente,” Mayor Chris Duncan said.
Residents of four residential buildings in San Clemente were forced to evacuate after a hill collapsed at the back of their properties
Drone footage taken after the evacuation showed the land below the properties collapsing and sliding down the hill
San Clemente’s mayor, who was on the scene, said landslides have been a problem throughout the city’s coastline.
“At the Cypress Shore community on the south side of town, we had a slope fault there, which has been stabilized by a tieback system, and we didn’t see any movement there.
“But along this stretch here, along our beautiful beach trail here in San Clemente, if you walk that trail you can see that there’s been loss over time on these slopes, so we’re concerned about the whole stretch .’
There were no injuries in the incident.
The National Weather Service has recorded just under two feet of rain in downtown LA in 2023, making this year the 14th wettest year so far in over 140 years.
Heading into the weekend, the weather service predicted light precipitation across California, followed by more substantial storms next week.