Rescue crews were searching the Dominguez Channel in the Gardena area for a missing man Monday morning after a woman reported her boyfriend had washed away after entering the channel, officials said.
The man has been identified by his girlfriend as Alming Dakers, 37. Both live in the channel, as do many homeless people, according to Gardena Police Lt. Vince Osorio.
Officials responded to the area after receiving a call about a woman screaming in distress around 5:10 a.m. in the area of Artesia Boulevard and Normandie Avenue, but were unable to find anyone there, Osorio said.
Officers learned that a few minutes later a woman had walked herself into a McDonald's at 13918 Artesia Blvd. and reported that she had gotten washed away with her boyfriend after entering the channel at Manhattan Beach Boulevard near El Camino College, Osorio said. The two locations are about a mile apart.
Water was running at an estimated 35 miles per hour due to stormy weather, and
Dominguez Channel had risen several feet above its usual level amid heavy rainfall in the area Monday morning and was running at an estimated 35 miles per hour faster than its normal rate, Osorio said. The waterway leads to the Port of Long Beach before it is deposited into the ocean.
The woman said was able to pull herself out of the rapidly rushing water where the channel crosses Artesia Boulevard. She has since been transported to Gardena Memorial Hospital and is in stable condition, Osorio said.
Fire personnel officially determined Dakers was missing just before 8 a.m. L.A. County Fire then turned the operation over to the Gardena Police Department as it transitioned from a search and rescue operation to a missing person incident.
— L.A. County Fire Department (@LACoFDPIO) January 9, 2017
The rescue operation consisted of a helicopter with four crew members on board, including three divers specially trained to perform swift water rescue, according to Michael Pittman with the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Several other city and county units were assisting the effort, he added.
For about an hour Monday morning, Traffic was rerouted in the area of Artesia Boulevard and Vermont Avenue, according to the Gardena Police, creating further stress for a morning commute already impacted by wet weather.