Monsoon Special 2013: Raging Watermann Wash rescue


by Royal Norman

Bio | Email | Follow: @RoyalNorman

Posted on June 5, 2013 at 4:15 PM

WATERMANN WASH, Ariz. -- Watermann Wash in Rainbow Valley is about 45 miles southwest of the Valley. While it's been dry for the last nine months, it's pretty remote. But during last year's Monsoon, it became the focus of a major drama that played out live on TV.

When 3TV's Bruce Haffner approached Watermann Wash last summer, the normally dry area was a raging torrent. Haffner found himself documenting a life and death situation.

"When we got down there, we looked and we got level over the river and we see the guy sitting on his truck and it was like oh, I don't know man, the water is rushing pretty good," said Haffner.

While Haffner hovered in his helicopter above, Michael Todd, a freelance videographer, was
recording the rescue from the ground. Todd says he was surprised how much water was rushing by.

"Yeah it was coming from the south and it was moving, you had some white caps through here, every once in a while you'd see a piece of debris go by and it was in and out of the camera shot," stated

As 3TV viewers watched, the Phoenix Fire Department's Swift Water Rescue team from station 44
went into action.

"He's in a precarious situation and we can't guarantee that his vehicle or his perch is going to do at any given moment. There was a lot of water coming down," Phoenix Firefighter Doug Klem said.

As the plan came together, a rescue raft secured by an overhead guide rope maneuvered near the
stranded truck and the man jumped into the raft. It was a textbook ending to a tense situation. 

"We like to win all the time, unfortunately we don't, but in this situation it did come out the way we wanted," Phoenix Firefighter Raymond Figeroa stated.

The stranded motorist was happy to be on dry land.

"He said thank you very much and apologized for having us come out but that's the way it goes,"
Klem said.