Copter Crew Rescues Pair From Swollen River

TUESDAY, JAN. 21, 1997

A helicopter crew plucked two construction workers from atop a truck in the surging Los Angeles River on Monday after a flash flood had trapped them in the normally dry concrete channel.

“The water just came up pretty fast - very fast. It didn’t give us an opportunity to do anything,” Jose Nunez said after Sheriff’s Department rescuers had lifted him and co-worker Alfred Galvan from the torrent.

Television crews videotaped the rescuers’ daring descent on a cable to retrieve Nunez and Galvan as their truck was being swept away by “a wall of water” after a sudden downpour, a Fire Department spokesman said.

In all, seven vehicles were trapped and washed away as the channel filled with 5 feet of water in less than a minute, said fire spokesman Brian Humphrey.

Two other workers in a different part of the river were rescued by firefighters using ropes and ladders.

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