The weekend’s storm led to heavy flooding in Yucca Valley, where officers had to rescue an 84-year-old resident from a vehicle that had been swept by a rush of water.
The video-recorded incident happened Saturday around 6:20 p.m. in the area of Yucca Mesa Road and Barron Drive, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.
Yucca Vly-while dodging power lines and fighting the rain with 40 MPH winds, our desert patrol crew along with a member of our swift water/dive team rescued an elderly male trapped in his car in rushing water. Victim hypothermic, but alive and safe. Press release to follow. pic.twitter.com/SoOsJbpnXp
— Sheriff's Aviation (@SBCSDAviation) February 3, 2019
Deputies and the San Bernardino County Fire Department responded to the scene after receiving a report of a man, later identified as Thomas Mallon, stuck in his car.
“Mallon was still trapped inside and was surrounded by fast moving and rising water,” a statement from the Sheriff’s Department said. “Due to the steep banks, high winds and torrential rain, ground units were unable to access the vehicle from the shore.”
Dive team members were deployed on a patrol helicopter from the Apple Valley Airport.
One of them, Detective Mark Rios, was lowered to the roof of the vehicle and managed to break the back window to extricate Mallon. The officer pulled the 84-year-old from the car and placed into a harness.
Mallon had a hard time moving after being in the frigid water for more than hour, the Sheriff’s Department said.
The crew from the helicopter lifted Mallon and Rios at the same time through the harness, video shows.
Mallon was transported to the Hi-Desert Medical Center in Joshua Tree for his injuries, officials said.
Corporal Jon Anderson piloted the helicopter, and Deputy Cody Korkotsakis served as crew chief.
Rain over the weekend caused several incidents across Southern California. On the 5 Freeway in the Castaic area, a volunteer with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team died Saturday after being hit by a vehicle while assisting in another crash.
Heavy precipitation throughout the region was expected to continue Monday.