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Press Release | Sept. 2, 2023

Coast Guard rescues multiple individuals in distress after flash flooding

PADET San Diego

SAN DIEGO — The Coast Guard saves multiple individuals who were in distress following flash flooding in the vicinity of San Diego, Friday evening.

Coast Guard Sector San Diego Joint Harbor Operations Center watchstanders received an agency assist request from the Imperial County Sheriffs to aid in the rescue of an individual stranded in a semi-truck in a swiftly moving wash.

Upon receiving the request, Coast Guard Sector San Diego launched an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew, coordinated with air traffic control to ensure clear airspace, and established a suitable working frequency for communication with ground assets.

The stranded individual had managed to crawl out from the truck but was subsequently swept away by the floodwaters. The Jayhawk helicopter crew successfully located and rescued the survivor. However, upon reaching a predetermined location passed by local fire assets, it became apparent that floodwaters had cut off access to local emergency medical services (EMS).

While searching for an alternative solution, another request was received from the Imperial County Fire to transport an additional 15 people away from the rising floodwaters. The Jayhawk helicopter crew ended up transporting two more individuals, bringing the total number of survivors rescued to three. The remaining 13 individuals declined transportation.

"The Coast Guard remains committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of individuals in distress, especially during emergency situations like flash flooding," said Capt. James Spitler, Coast Guard Sector San Diego commanding officer. "The successful rescue operation is a testament to the dedication and professionalism of Coast Guard personnel."