8 people, 8 dogs rescued from San Gabriel River in Azusa

A hiker crosses a river.
Rescue crews brought eight people and eight dogs to safety Monday evening after they were swept away by fast-moving waters in the San Gabriel River in Azusa. Above, hiker on the East Fork of the San Gabriel River in Azusa in 2021.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Eight people and eight dogs were rescued from the San Gabriel River in Azusa after they were swept away by fast-moving waters Monday evening, according to authorities.

Firefighters received reports that a ninth person was also in the river, but it’s unclear if that information was accurate, Los Angeles County Fire Department spokesperson Ruben Muñoz said.

A 911 call that reported people in the river came in shortly after 6 p.m. and firefighters responded to the area of North Todd and West Sierra Madre avenues in Azusa, authorities said.


More than a dozen locations along major rivers were overflowing as the storm moved south across California. About 336,000 people were without power.

March 15, 2023

Initially, officials said there were seven people in the water but updated the number to eight. Five people were assisted out of the river and three were hoisted by helicopter, Muñoz said.

None of the people required hospitalization, but the conditions of the animals were unclear. Fire officials did not explain how the victims ended up in or near the water. During previous storms, emergency crews rescued people living in homeless encampments along the riverbed from fast-moving floodwaters.

Fire officials did not know the status of the people who were rescued on Monday.

Officials continued to search the river and flood channels until 10 p.m. for the possible ninth person in the water, according to the Fire Department.

The migrant town of Pajaro, Calif., was flooded last week during powerful storms that caused a levee to break. Now, another storm is moving in.

March 14, 2023

The reporting party who told emergency officials about the possible ninth person left the scene and did not provide additional information, Muñoz said.

“We continued to patrol the area around the flood channels for any signs of bodies and did not locate anyone,” Muñoz said. “They did their due diligence to search for that person.”