Two people and their dog were rescued Wednesday from a patch of vegetation in the Santa Ana River bottom, where they became stranded amid raging storm waters following downpours that made crossing the channel perilous.
The operation was initiated at about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday near the Van Buren Boulevard bridge at Jurupa Avenue, according to the Riverside Fire Department.
Officials said the two adults and their canine were spotted by people driving over the bridge, who called 911. Firefighters made their way to the site and found the parties, whose identities were not disclosed, on an “island” that formed amid the rushing waters, according to reports from the scene.
Shortly after 1 p.m., firefighters effected a swift-water rescue with the aid of a sheriff’s helicopter, safely relocating the victims and their dog to the north riverbank, officials said.
It was unclear how the victims ended up in the river. The area remains dotted with homeless encampments, despite city prohibitions against habitation and efforts by the Riverside County Flood Control & Water Conservation District to clear the space for a project.