Rescue crews were on alert as three cars ended up in the rain-swollen Los Angeles River Tuesday morning.
The first incident was reported about 5:39 a.m. as a rollover crash in the 1600 block of North Main Street, a Los Angeles Fire Department spokesperson confirmed.
No vehicle was found at the location when firefighters arrived, but witnesses said a car had gone into the river, the spokesperson said.
Around 7:30 a.m., a white sedan was spotted in the rushing water beneath the bridge on East Washington Boulevard.
The car was trapped against a column in the middle of the river and was being submerged by the passing waters.
It was unclear if anyone was still inside the vehicle, but no rescue attempt was made due to the amount of water flowing into the car and length of time it had been in the water.
“There’s no way that an individual can survive that,” LAFD spokesperson Erik Scott said. “It would be what we call a recovery effort at this point.”
As crews were determining how to proceed with the situation, a second vehicle came floating down the river and became “stacked” atop the first car on the same concrete pylon, the Fire Department stated.
Crews decided to wait for waters to recede before attempting to reach either of the vehicles.
The danger to rescuers was just too great for a swift water team to try to approach, Scott said.
Meanwhile, a third vehicle was carried past the bridge and the trapped vehicles as it made its way further down the river.
Ultimately, one man was rescued from the L.A. River after he slipped into the river near Sylmar High School.
He ultimately found himself trapped in an underground channel, but was able to use his cell phone to call for help, firefighters said.
Fire trucks used their horns to help locate the man, who alerted firefighters when he could hear the truck, according to the LAFD.
“We knew he was underground, but we weren’t sure exactly where. He just knew he was somewhere underground … We went to the manhole cover and we could actually hear him yelling,” LAFD Capt. Travis Warford said.
Firefighters removed the manhole cover and the man was able to exit the channel, Warford added.
The man suffered minor injuries and is expected to recover.