Emergency crews pulled two women and 10 dogs, including a litter of puppies, to safety Friday morning after they became trapped in the rushing waters of the San Gabriel River near South El Monte.
The women were stranded on an island in the middle of the river as heavy rain fell in the area near the 60 Freeway, video showed about 6 a.m. First responders said they could see the women clinging to debris.
The area is used as a homeless encampment, but the rest of the people were able to leave before the water levels got to high, Los Angeles County Fire Department Inspector Joey Marron said.
A litter of puppies, some of which were wearing Christmas sweaters, were also found on the island. The dogs belonged to the women, authorities said.
The women and the dogs were doing fine, authorities said.
"Today, we were lucky it worked out as well as it could have," Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said at a news conference on the rescue. "I can't say enough about the pilots -- their ability to be able to navigate between the power lines and avoid the debris on the ground from coming up into the rotor."
Two helicopters that were assigned to help with the rescue had to be canceled at one point due to the weather conditions, a spokesman for the Fire Department said.
About 7:45 a.m., helicopters returned to the scene and a crew member was lowered down to the river.
Moments later, one of the trapped women was pulled up to the helicopter along with the crew member. The helicopter remained overhead as crews prepared to pull the second woman to safety. Video showed her being lifted into the helicopter about 8 am.
Crews members then went back to rescue the puppies.
A tweet by the Fire Department showed some of the puppies in a bucket inside the helicopter.
Two of the puppies are up for adoption through Southeast Area Animal Control Center, authorities said.