Some North Las Vegas firefighters are now telling the story of how close a dangerous swiftwater rescue came to a tragic end.
Clark County Fire Department Captain Travis Grove told KVVU-TV “They were saying she only had about a minute left to hold on. She looked as if she was in rough shape.”
Grove, along with other firefighters and police officers responded to the scene near Losee and Alexander after the woman ended up in the wash near Craig Ranch Park.
Firefighters told KVVU that the water was running up to 30 miles per hour and think she might have been floating in the water between a mile and a half and two miles.
The woman was able to cling to a pillar when rescuers threw her a rope.
“It was on her and she tried to bite it with her teeth because her arms were stuck. Somehow, she grabbed the rope. We didn’t think she’d have enough energy to, and held on and let go of the pillar,” said Grove.
Crews on scene thought the location would be their best shot to save the woman because “After that, there was about a three and a half to four foot drop off of what we call a strainer area where she would have gone under the 15 freeway and kind of passed under some tunnel systems, which is always dangerous because you go under there, you may not come back out,” said North Las Vegas Fire Department Battalion Chief Ben Erickson.
It is not clear exactly how the woman ended up in the wash, but firefighters say the rescue is a clear example of why people should stay out of wash areas.