Woman rescued from car trapped in flooded wash


by azfamily.com

Video report by Karen Brown

Posted on August 1, 2014 at 10:46 PM

Updated Saturday, Aug 2 at 5:32 PM

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PHOENIX -- Rescue crews pulled a woman from a car trapped in a flooded wash in north Phoenix Friday night.

The wash near Seventh Avenue and Greenway Road flooded after the monsoon dumped heavy rain in the area.

"When she tried going through, it was only about a foot and a half deep, but by the time the cops showed up, it was probably about 2-3 feet and it just kept rising," said witness Ricardo Reyes.

He said people tried to help her before firefighters arrived, but she couldn't roll down a window or open a door.

"At first she didn't look that worried, but the water started rising so I think that's why she started getting scared," Reyes said.

First responders used a megaphone to tell the woman her car was approaching a barrier, Reyes said.

"The lucky thing is this particular vehicle butted up against a pole and it stopped her from continuing on or this lady would have been in some serious trouble," said Rocky Northcutt, who is part of the Phoenix Fire Department's swift water rescue team.

Phoenix Fire Capt. Scott McDonald said swift water rescues are dangerous even for trained rescue crews because the water is so powerful and filled with debris.

"Every swift water rescue's different," he said. "We've got to put as many safety parameters in place as we can before we make a move and put our people in the water. We also want to look at the condition the vehicle is in, how stable it looks, how many people are in the vehicle, and have a good game plan."

Witnesses cheered when rescuers pried open the car door and pulled the woman out.

"I was just happy that they got her out. By that time, she had already been in there a good forty minutes probably at least, maybe a little longer," Reyes said. "Very grateful for the firefighters."