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8 Rescued, 1 Missing From San Gabriel River

Los Angeles County firefighters rescued eight people from rushing water in the San Gabriel River near Azuza on Monday evening, with one person still missing.

Firefighters were alerted just after 6 p.m. about people stuck on an island in the area of North Todd and Sierra Madre avenues. After making eight rescues, they concluded their search for a ninth person sometime before 10 p.m.

Los Angeles County Fire Department spokesman Ruben Muños said all the people involved appeared to be unhoused.

Jose Quiroz lives nearby and was out riding his horse when he heard helicopters and witnessed some of the rescues. He said it’s not uncommon for him to see people finding places to settle within the typically dry riverbed.

“I’ve noticed that the homeless people go further and further in to get away from people. So it was going to happen eventually with all of the water that’s been coming in,” he said.

Muños said the rushing, frigid water is the product of snowmelt rushing downstream from the mountains.

“The water is very deceiving,” he said. “The first foot of water is probably pretty tranquil, but after that, the speed below that is very strong and it can pull you underneath.”

The fire department was planning to use a helicopter to continue its search for the missing person.

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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