Man, 25, Dies After Being Swept Away in Flash Flood While on Date in Forest Falls

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A hiker who was swept away in a flash flood while trying to cross waist-deep water in the mountain community of Forest Falls was identified Wednesday as a 25-year-old man from Rancho Cucamonga.

Brett Alan Usher is shown in a DMV photo for a license issued in 2011.
Brett Alan Usher is shown in a DMV photo for a license issued in 2011.

Brett Alan Usher was found dead after a storm on Tuesday. He was identified by the San Bernardino County coroner's office.

Shortly before 5:45 p.m.Tuesday, the county Fire Department tweeted that a rescue crew was on its way to the Forest Falls area after the victim got caught in a flash flood.

The man was hiking in the area with a woman when a sudden thunderstorm hit the area, causing heavy rain in the hills that triggered the flooding, according to county fire Capt. Bret Raney.

“The two hikers attempted to cross the river,” he said. “The female was able to self-extricate. But the male was unfortunately swept away.”

The female victim told rescue crews that the pair were on a date, Raney said.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department also assisted with the initial rescue effort.

Rescue crews responded to Mill Creek Wash in the Forest Falls area on Sept. 8, 2015, after a man got swept away in a flash flood. (Credit: CasperNews)
Rescue crews responded to Mill Creek Wash in the Forest Falls area on Sept. 8, 2015, after a man got swept away in a flash flood. (Credit: CasperNews)

Crews discovered the man's body about two hours later in the Mill Creek Wash. The location was about a mile away from where the victim started, according to Raney.

The fire captain stated the river was moving at approximately 20 mph. He described the terrain as "extremely rocky" and said the river was filled with debris.

A local Forest Falls resident was shooting video of the fast-moving, gray water when he spotted Usher's body.

"I saw his body coming down, just being pushed over rocks and there were trees, big boulders rolling down the canyon," Mike Hagelgantz said.

Though he's seen the creek turn into a torrent some 20 times over the years, Hagelgantz felt disbelief when he spotted Usher's body, he said.

Under the circumstances, Raney said, it was "extremely inadvisable" to cross the river.

The female hiker was from Redlands, Raney said.

Forest Falls is a community in the San Bernardino Mountains approximately 80 miles east of Los Angeles. It is often the site of flash-flooding during extreme storms.

San Bernardino County fire crews also performed a swiftwater rescue in the Victorville area Tuesday evening after multiple people became trapped near Bear Valley Road and Jacaranda Drive.

One person was swept away, but was located and rescued downstream, according to the Fire Department.

More thunderstorms were expected to hit the area on Wednesday.

A flash-flood watch had been issued by the National Weather Service on Tuesday afternoon for San Bernardino County. It was scheduled to last through Thursday.

Correction: An earlier version of this story gave the incorrect location for the female hiker's city of residence. The post has been updated.

KTLA's Eric Spillman and Melissa Pamer contributed to this article.

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