A homeless woman and her dog got trapped in the rain-swollen Los Angeles River on Monday, and while the woman was quickly brought to safety, the spooked pooch broke free and waded into the rushing river, sparking a dramatic, nearly 90-minute rescue effort.
The Los Angeles Fire Department reported the woman and the dog were spotted in the water near the Sepulveda Dam just before 2:15 p.m., according to the department’s Margaret Stewart.
Crews managed to rescue the woman by about 2:40 p.m., but her pet made its way into the water, alternately walking and swimming down the rushing river, unable to reach dry ground.
Rescue crews staged at various locations along the river, but the dog was pushed by the rushing river downstream through Studio City.
At one point, a civilian jumped into the water and managed to grab the dog and cling to the north side of the river. The LAFD lowered a swift-water rescue team member into the water, but as he approached the man and dog, the animal broke free and was again pushed downstream.
The man who leapt into the river to grab the animal was then hoisted to safety, and was taken to a hospital to be treated for a bite from the dog he tried to rescue.
The dog continued downstream, eventually reaching some relatively high ground in Studio City, in the area of Gilligan’s Island Road near CBS Studios. At that point, four members of a swift-water rescue team were able to walk into the river toward the animal.
The dog attempted to turn and run against the current away from the rescuers, but fell into the deep end of the river and drifted toward the crew, who managed to place a leash on the animal and lead it to safety just before 4:05 p.m.
The dog’s owner was taken to a hospital in unknown condition.
The condition of the dog was not immediately known.