A posting today on the Tijuana Press website reported that, following heavy rains in the border area overnight and throughout the morning, a homeless couple had to wait around four hours before being rescued from the Tijuana River canal, which flooded quickly and caught them off guard.
The rescue operation included firefighters, policemen, and Red Cross paramedics, who waited almost half the day before the man and woman could be safely transferred to the canal’s edge.
Eyewitnesses said a team of firefighters threw the man a rope, but the current’s force prevented the rescuers from reaching the couple’s location while they waited in the rain covered with plastic bags.
The man and woman were stranded on a sort of island of silt and clump grass almost in the center of the canal, where other homeless people had stayed part of the night. The others apparently left the canal earlier, before the worst flooding occurred.
"The increasing level of the river, conditions, and time were against us, and we have to work considering our own safety and also the victims, so we decided to use another tool," said Enrique Pérez Valdez, captain of the firefighter rescue team.
A helicopter was finally used to bring the couple to safety. They were taken to a hospital and reported to be in stable condition.