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Rescuers save San Bernardino County woman swept away in her truck by rain-swollen creek

December 20, 2010 |  9:41 pm

A woman who was swept away in her pickup while crossing a rain-swollen creek in the San Bernardino National Forest was rescued Monday night after a harrowing, four-hour recovery effort, officials said.

The 29-year-old woman was crossing Lytle Creek north of San Bernardino shortly before 5 p.m. in her Ford pickup when the high water washed away the road and started carrying the vehicle downstream. As water filled her cab up to the dashboard, the woman used her cellphone to call for help, officials said.

"She did the right thing. She stayed in her cab and dialed 911," said Tracey Martinez, spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County Fire Department. "It was pretty scary."

The powerful currents pushed the truck down the creek for about a quarter of a mile until it lodged on a small island.

Eventually, a swift-water rescue squad found the woman. A team member then fired a harpoon-like line gun, which propelled a coiled line to the island. A rescuer was then able to traverse the rope across the swollen creek, carrying a helmet and life vest for the woman.

Finally, nearly four hours after the ordeal began, the woman was pulled to safety, Martinez said. She was taken to San Antonio Community Hospital in Upland, where she was listed in good condition.

"She's very lucky she had cellphone coverage in that area," Martinez said. "She is a very fortunate woman."

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-- Robert J. Lopez

 

Photos: Southern California storm

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