Long Beach Firefighters, Lifeguards Rescue Homeless Woman from LA River

la river rescue

A homeless woman in her 30s was rescued unharmed from the Los Angeles River in Long Beach on Tuesday amid a storm that is scheduled to continue throughout the week.

The woman was spotted just before noon during a welfare check of homeless encampments in the Los Angeles River by rescue personnel with the Long Beach Fire Department (LBFD), said spokesman Jake Heflin.

Fire personnel then made contact with the woman—whose encampment was on a steel island at an abutment under a pipeline bridge south of the Willow Street bridge—in an attempt to warn her of the rising river.

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“Unfortunately at that point in time, the water started to rise quickly,” Heflin said. “She was unable to exit to the river […] and required a technical rope rescue with our urban search and rescue team and swift water rescue team.”

LBFD personnel then sent a lifeguard down to the encampment to assist the victim up using a vertical lift operation, Heflin said.

The woman was rescued about 30 minutes later and subsequently medically evaluated and released at the scene.

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This story was updated on Tuesday, January 5 at 2:35PM with details of the rescue. 

All photos by LBFD spokesman Jake Heflin.

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Stephanie Rivera is the community engagement editor for the Long Beach Post. After graduating from CSULB with a degree in journalism, Stephanie worked for Patch Latino and City News Service before coming to the Long Beach Post in 2015.