Two women whose minivan was taken up by floodwaters near Castaic were helped out of the vehicle by a man who jumped in a tractor and drove into the raging water on Wednesday, the second day of heavy rain in Southern California.
Nick Kennedy, whose family owns a heavy equipment company, was working on a hillside in the Hasley Canyon area about 11:20 a.m. when he went down to see how bad the rain was affecting a flooding intersection below, his wife told KTLA.
Cars were apparently trying to make it through the low point at Hasley Canyon and Del Valle roads (map) when a minivan began to get swept away.
Kennedy leapt in a tractor and went toward the minivan, trying to block the flow from the vehicle, but it continued to move in the raging water, he texted his wife Kayla Kennedy.
He pulled the tractor next to the vehicle and yelled at a passenger to climb out of the vehicle and cross into the tractor. She was terrified, but he finally got the woman out, and then helped an older woman in the driver’s seat, Nick Kennedy said.
He moved the women to land, and when the water calmed a bit, he pulled the minivan out of the water. It was later towed away.
“The stop sign she hit saved the car from going down the arroyo,” Nick Kennedy wrote in a text to his wife. “If her wheel was turned a different way or anything it would rolled their car all the way down the arroyo.”
Nick’s brother Nolan, who was operating a different tractor, recorded video of the rescue.
The roadway was cleared and reopened, Los Angeles County Department of Public Works said on Twitter about 1:45 p.m.
The intersection floods regularly in heavy rains, and the residents in the unincorporated area have asked the county to build a bridge or improve flood control in the area, according to Bonnie Blackwell-Nikolai of the Castaic Area Town Council.
“This is the only way into Hasley Canyon and one of two ways into Val Verde,” Blackwell-Nikolai wrote on KTLA’s Facebook page. “Hopefully LA County will take us seriously when we ask them to build a bridge!”
As heavy rain flooded many roadways and even shut down freeways, authorities warned residents this week to “turn around, don’t drown.”