Fire EMS, Firefighting, Technical Rescue

Fire Rescue: Vehicle Into The Los Angeles River

On Thursday, March 11, 2010 at 7:30 A.M., Long Beach (CA) Fire Department (LBFD) units responded to a reported Injury Traffic, with an overturned vehicle in the Los Angeles River, off of the North bound lanes at the seventh street bridge in Long Beach, California.

The first arriving LBFD Unit, Rescue One (1), confirmed the vehicle in the water causing the subsequent request for additional resources to manage the incident. A Unified Command (UC) was established on the Seventh Street Bridge with the LBFD, LBPD, CHP, and other local, state, and federal agencies. The land-based UC coordinated operations with the LBFD Marine Safety division, to deploy their dive team in an attempt to locate the vehicle and rescue any victims inside. The first divers entered the water in approximately twenty-five minutes from the time of dispatch. The depth of the water searched was approximately fifteen feet; with almost zero visibility, and a strong current present.

The initial search operations were conducted by fFeel” and forcible entry was required to enter certain areas of the vehicle; an infant car seat was located during this operation, which further re-enforced the initial information that there might be multiple victims in the vehicle. The vehicle was found sitting on the bottom of the river on its wheels with the rear hatch facing to the East when a single female victim, approximately twenty years old, was rescued from this location. She was pulled up onto a rescue boat and immediately transferred to land-based firefighters and paramedics who began Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and other Advanced Life Saving (ALS) procedures.

Subsequently law enforcement made contact with the victim’s relatives who confirmed that she should be the only occupant in the vehicle at the time of the accident. The single victim was transported from the scene to a local hospital for continued medical treatment. Approximately one hour after the incident reports are that she is in “critical conditions, responding to treatment with her family at the hospital.”

The vehicle was removed from the river using a large “wrecker” with the coordinated effort of the Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) team and the dive team working together to complete a safe and efficient operation. A secondary check of the vehicle was conducted on shore with other water-based resources checking “Down Stream” to ensure that there was only one victim. Currently the LBPD and the CHP are conducting a joint investigation to determine the cause of the accident. Information on the victim will be forthcoming on the direction of the family either through a direct representative or through the hospital.

This incident occurred near the downtown of Long Beach with a total of 22 apparatus and 43 personnel responded to this call, from the LBFD in addition to other partnering agencies at the local, state, and federal levels.

More LBFD: http://firechannel.org/blog/?p=2074