At least 1 dead, 3 others rescued after being swept downstream in Ontario wash

ByRob McMillan and staff KABC logo
Wednesday, November 9, 2022

ONTARIO, Calif. -- At least one person is dead and two others are unaccounted for after officials conducted a water rescue in Ontario Tuesday morning.

Authorities received multiple calls about multiple people in a wash in the 1200 block of E. 4th Street around 9:46 a.m., according to the Ontario Fire Department. A swift water rescue team was dispatched to the area and conducted searches up and down the body of water.

The first unit on scene reported seeing six individuals being swept downstream by the current. Three of the individuals were rescued, officials said.

"They're incredibly dangerous, because once people get into these, the likelihood of them getting themselves out is virtually impossible," said Chief Ray Gayk with the Ontario Fire Department.

Gayk said early indications suggested it was a homeless encampment set up along the wash. The three people who were rescued were taken to the hospital though their condition is unknown.

The search continued for the others in one of the retention basins near Philadelphia Street and Baker Avenue.

"They'll use these for shelters, and these waters come so fast that once they come, they're very difficult to get out of those situations," said Gayk.

In the San Bernardino Mountains, the rain came down hard Tuesday morning, causing several trees to fall. In Oak Glen, another round of intense rainfall caused mudslides.

Rain came down where the El Dorado fire burned more than two years ago, but with many of the hillsides still scarred from that fire, Oak Glen along with parts of Yucaipa, Forest Falls and Angelus Oaks were all issued evacuation orders.

"If our driveway gets mudded out, which it is right now, until we have somebody come out here and clear it, we're trapped in here," said one resident.

Mandatory evacuations are in place for all residents in the El Dorado and Apple fire burn scars on the San Bernardino County side. There are no evacuation orders in place on the Riverside County side.

Emergency management officials told Eyewitness News there are no significant damage to report in the Fairview Fire burn area.

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