OCSD Air Support deputies conduct swift-water rescue in rain-swollen Trabuco Canyon


Members of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department’s Air Support unit rescued a man and a woman who spent the night in a truck in Trabuco Canyon trapped by rushing water from the recent deluge of rains.

The couple, a 62-year-old man and a 50-year-old woman, were not injured after the incident that unfolded at 7:30 a.m. Monday.

Both the OCSD and members of the Orange County Fire Authority swift water rescue team were dispatched to the call Jan. 23.

This black SUV was found unoccupied. OCSD photo

This black SUV was found unoccupied. OCSD photo

Upon arrival, authorities found a white SUV stranded in about 2 feet of fast-moving water.

An OCSD rescuer hoisted down from a helicopter found the white SUV unoccupied, according to an OCSD spokesperson.

It later was determined that all the occupants of that SUV had made it out safety the previous night.

The OCSD’s Duke 3 rescue helicopter then flew northeast to scan the canyon for more stranded motorists and came across another empty SUV — a black one — and then a green Ford Ranger with the stranded couple inside.

The couple were found in this vehicle. OCSD photo

The couple were found in this vehicle. OCSD photo

The green Ford Ranger was stranded in 2 feet of mud.

An OCSD spokeswoman said it would have been dangerous for the couple to have tried to hike out of the area  and said they would have had to remain in the truck for at least another day to safely make it out on their own.

The couple, who had been attempting to flee the area because of heavy storms, had a cell phone but there was no reception in the canyon. They were smart to stay in the vehicle until help arrived, the spokeswoman said.

The rescue occurred just west of cabins in Trabuco Canyon about a half-mile west of Holy Jim Canyon.

Other than being cold and hungry, the couple were not injured, the OCSD spokeswoman said. After being examined by an OCSD paramedic they were taken by OCSD deputies to a friend’s home.