Firefighter recalls swift water rescue in 2010

LAS VEGAS - In July 2010, Daniel Ybarra and his fellow firefighters were driving back to Fire Station 18, when they spotted a man trapped in waist-deep water.

"We noticed there was a person clinging onto a grocery basket," Ybarra said.

He says they alerted dispatchers about the man trapped in the flooded wash. At the time, they only had a fire engine equipped with a rope. Since they had little time to act, the firefighters improvised.

"The truck backed in. I was able to use the ladder to go up and maneuver over to where the gentleman was," Ybarra said. "There's a device on the bucket where you can tie in another ladder."

Two firefighters stood in the bucket. One of them climbed down the ladder to grab the man.

"He was able to put a life vest on the guy and assist him to stepping on the ladder," Ybarra said.

In the mean time, Ybarra and other swift water rescuers were positioned downstream, in case the man got loose. Thankfully, he didn't.

"They raised the ladder truck up and around and over to dry land," he said.

When Ybarra learned the man had been rescued, he says he felt relief and excitement. "(It was) a sense of a team effort to get the one individual up and out of the wash," he said.

Approximately 15 minutes after rescuing the man, Ybarra and his team were called out again for another person trapped in a wash. In that case, swift water rescuers were also able to get the person to safety.


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