He jumped into storm-swollen waters to save his dog. Then he had to be saved

A person dangles from a helicopter over choppy waters within the concrete walls of a manmade river.
An L.A. fire crew performs a rescue operation at the Pacoima Wash on Monday.
(Daniel Castillo / LAFD)

A man’s decision to leap into the churning water of the Pacoima Wash to save his dog led to a dramatic rescue — of the man, not the dog, which climbed out on its own.

Firefighters with the Los Angeles Fire Department responded to the river in Sylmar around 2:45 p.m. Monday after a bystander reported that, amid L.A.’s stormy weather, a “man jumped in the flowing water in pursuit of his dog,” the department said.

An LAFD crew hunted for the man, going to numerous bridges overlooking the 33-mile-long tributary of the Tujunga Wash, which is a tributary of the L.A. River. They first spotted the canine, which had swum to the side of the river and gotten out of the rapidly flowing current, officials said.

A helicopter located the man at another point in the river. A rescuer was lowered into the water and was able to grab the man — who was still conscious — and hoist him back up to the helicopter, video shows.


California was hit by a monster atmospheric river storm that killed at least nine people, left record rainfall and caused mudslides in the Southland.

Feb. 8, 2024

The dog was treated for minor injuries. The man was taken to a hospital in the helicopter, according to fire officials. Information on the man’s condition was not immediately available.

A man in a green jacket holds a brown and black dog on a leash on a rain-slicked sidewalk.
A dog, with an L.A. Animal Services employee, waits to be reunited with the owner who jumped into the Pacoima Wash on Monday to save him.
(Daniel Castillo / LAFD)