[UPDATE 7:48 a.m.] Three People Saved From ‘Sinking Vehicle,’ Rescuers Going Back for Dogs


Rescuer at the partially submerged truck. [Photo provided by Southern Humboldt Technical Rescue]

According to scanner traffic, early this morning, a vehicle parked along the river near Tooby Park in Southern Humboldt, was caught in rapidly rising waters. Rescuers responded about 4:35 a.m. to the report of three people in a “sinking vehicle.”

KMUD tweeted that the three people were rescued with the help of a rope from the vehicle about 4:55 a.m.

“All three patients are on the ground,” reported the Incident Commander over the scanner.

With two members of Southern Humboldt Technical Rescue on the scene, the decision was made for them to go in after several dogs that were still in the vehicle.

Garberville Fire and Cal Fire were on the scene as well as members of Southern Humboldt Technical Rescue.

As of 5:32 a.m., we have received no word about the dogs or the emergency personnel who were preparing to rescue them. We will update as soon as possible.

UPDATE 5:36 a.m.: The Incident Commander reports that all people and animals are safely out of the vehicle.

UPDATE 7:15 a.m.: At approximately 4:30 a.m., according to Diana Totten spokesperson for Southern Humboldt Technical rescue, 911 received a call for a water rescue off of Kimtu Road. A vehicle was sinking into the river.

When emergency personnel arrived on the scene, one woman and two men were on top of the vehicle which was surrounded by water. “The vehicle was full of water,” Totten explained. “They were on the roof. They crawled out of the windows…They were wet and cold.”

Cal Fire was able throw a rope to the partially submerged vehicle. The three individuals were “able to use the rope as stabilization and get out,” said Totten.

The occupants of the vehicle had been asleep when the river started coming up. “They found themselves trapped,” Totten explained. “The water rose fast–it came  up a foot while we were there.”

Soon, the occupants were safe on shore but the river was swallowing the pickup and three dogs, Totten said. “It appeared that the vehicle would be lost because the water was rising so quickly,” she reported.

Totten said, that Southern Humboldt Technical Rescue sent out Genairo Gray, a rescue swimmer. “The three completely full grown dogs–they know they are in a pickle,” she said. When Gray first reached the truck, the animals were terrified. They began barking, Totten said.  Genairo Gray took off his helmet so he wouldn’t look so frightening. At that point, Totten said, “He reached out his hands and one of the dogs jumped into his hands.”

Gray was able to get that dog to shore. “Two came really well,” Totten explained. “The third one was petrified. In fact, when we got him on the bank, he actually jumped back into the river and started swimming….They are just like people and don’t think clearly.”

Also, Totten said, the number of people, emergency vehicles, and bright lights must have terrifying. “There were a lot of cops and rescue people with headlamps and blinking lights,” she pointed out. “It was scary for them.”

But in spite of that, Totten said, “Genairo was able to reach out and steer [the frightened dog] back to land….He just kind of pointed him in the right direction.”

Some personal effects were also rescued.

Totten said that because a tow truck wasn’t available, as of the time she left the scene the truck was still in the water. Still, the people and their animals were saved thanks to all the various agencies who responded.

“We’ve got topnotch crews,” she said.

UPDATE 9:05 a.m.: Thanks to Terri Klemetson from KMUD, who tells us that “local do-gooders” helped remove the truck from the Eel River by 9 a.m. Thanks to all who helped.



  • Thank God for our brave rescuers!

    • No doubt, these guys rock.

    • “God” had nothing to do with it. If so, he would’ve parted the river like Moses so the people and dogs could’ve just walked out!

      • Lost Croat Outburst

        Well, OK, but religious believers ought to be allowed some slack in a free society. Being free means we are irritated all the time by other free people. As a non-believer, I don’t believe it helps our image to rag on folks for a simple exclamation of good will. Aren’t we all glad everybody made it? Aren’t we grateful that emergency personnel risk their own safety to help others? Prayers are still better than curses, no matter what you do or don’t believe.

        Merry Christmas.

  • What type of vehicle is it? Looks familiar, just can’t recall the brand.

    • I’m not sure why Kym lets you make these comments. I’m sure she could come up with a rule. I’ve asked several times you show us the vehicle you drive so we know what to purchase. You haven’t done that yet. How can we comply without further direction from you? Also, A picture of yourself so we know the look we need to achieve. Please help us. We are living miserable lives looking the way we do. We need help, guidance. Do you have any Kool-aide?

      • I’m only pointing out that Toyota trucks seem to be involved in more crimes than any other vehicle.
        Not sure why your panties are bunched, unless maybe you commit acts of terror and property crimes using a Toyota.
        I find it fascinating that most of the crimes committed involve Toyota trucks.

        • Please compile some factual data to prove your theory. Maybe more toyota trucks being driven per capita might correlate with more toyota trucks being involved in crimes. Your assertion that all toyota truck drivers are ISIS, flat brim hat wearing, criminals is wrong.

          I’m not sure why I let your ignorance bunch my panties. I should take the high road and not even read your comments. I’m not an outlaw and I don’t even smoke weed and I drive one of those Toyotas.

          What was the crime committed by the unfortunate people who had their truck swept into the river?

          • Wrecking the river with gas, oil, and other automotive chemicals.

            It’s another example of a Toyota truck committing an act of terror.

            Last week one caught fire on the road and had things exploding from it, the list goes on…

            Much of the crime seen in this blog are acts of Toyota truck driving terrorists, you hardly read anything about Subaru’s running terror ops, yet the Toyota truck crowd makes the news nearly daily.
            You must have a secret outlaw fantasy or secret life, if you drive one, is my guess.
            Just keep reading Kym’s blog and read the carnage and terror Toyota trucks spread.

        • plz delete this guys comments kym…I know that he could just change his name and it would probably go thru, but it’s obvious that it’s him…Anyone that has such a hard on for insisting that toyotas are involved in EVERY crime deserves to have comments deleted. Go back to loco barry! your troll like behaviors are not welcome here.

          • Mr X aka Barry Wallowberg’s comments remind me of Howard Stern. You’re not genuinely interested in what he has to say, you just want to see what he will say next…

          • Excuse me Stalin, or is it Tojo?

            I only pointed out that nearly every day this blog will have a story in which a Toyota truck is involved in some type of crime. Don’t believe me? Watch the coming week and see more Toyota trucks involved in acts of terror and property crimes.. I’m not writing these stories, simply pointing out the relationship between crime/terror and people driving Toyota trucks.
            You’re funny, in a newspeak kinda way.

  • Thanks guys . That is how it is done!

  • Thank you to all the rescuers you all are the best YOU RULE!!!God bless you all and Merry Christmas

  • Heroes!!! And thank you, Kym….you must never sleep.

  • Cal Fire and our various volunteer fire depts. have wide spread abilities. They spent a hellish summer keeping our towns, as well as many personal properties and possessions safe from the fearful roaring blazes and now that the danger from those fires is almost nil, they not only rescue humans from the cold, roaring rivers, but rescue some of the victims most personal possessions – their pets.
    Once again, Thank You Fire Fighters. It is a privilege to know some of you. Wish I knew you all.

  • Tears of joy! Glad they’re all safe!!

  • Thank You Diana, Genairo and the Southern Humboldt Rescue Team. But really these IDIOTS shouldn’t have been down there in the first place why in the hell were you on the river bar. Now we have to deal with OIL GAS and GREASE in our river because some tweaker junkies probably wanted a place to get hi without being harassed by locals.

    I want to pose a question if these people are “victims” then why arnt the kids that drive there truck into the river or bay “Victims” and not just stupid moronic and idiotic that are polluting our water and killing our fish?

    • Ok I know we are all tired of drugged out people camping everywhere. But please lets try to reel it in a bit, calling everyone who does something odd a tweeker is getting old and just isn’t true in every case. People who are not tweekers do stupid crap all the time. Perhaps these folks had a few too many drinks in town and just needed a few hours to nap it off. Or they were going to camp at campground and weather got too crazy. Mayb car wasnt working well&didnt wanna risk driving to property.
      Am just thinking of reasons why I have crashed out in my car before. Plus most druggies dont have rides like that and would prob sleep in their car in town.
      The main point of this story is how fast the water rose.
      And if you wanna see the cops evict the trespassing homeless, just put some plants in their camps then call the cops saying there is a grow there, or that they are earth firsters trespassing. That usually brings the sheriffs fast with pepper spray loaded.

    • The amount of plastic you use daily is more po;;outing to the ocean than the gas and oil spilled by that vehicle

    • They where a nice clean young hipster that where in the wrong place at the wrong time. I don’t think they had any bad intentions.

  • That’s a real cute story but fact is these tweaker idiots are being allowed to live on the River Bars, no body knows who they are, where they come from.
    They bring in crime they bring in garbage and violence.
    Now the public service volunteers are risking their lives for these no good trespassing homeless bums.

  • What a terrifying ordeal for all, including the rescue team. Thank God all are ok.

  • Koodos to the people who helped him get their truck!!!

  • Our heros, Thank you all..
    Btw lives are lives, tweakers or not, they deserved to be saved!!

  • Again Diana saves the day or should I say saves the night

  • I was really hoping this thread wouldn’t have anything but THANK YOU to our rescue crews on it!

    Thanks – that had to have been a cold one! After fires all summer, sheesh!

  • Great gratitude to our fantastic rescue team! What a pity they got called out in the middle of these storms because these people were so STUPID TO PARK ON A RIVER DURING A MAJOR WINTER STORM. What a pity no one can stop all the freeloaders camping on Kimtu Road…for weeks…like the guy in the white 5th wheel covered with a black tarp that’s been parked down here for over six weeks. These incidents make me appreciate the Palo Verde Volunteer Fire Dept’s motto, “Protecting Ourselves From Ourselves.”

  • Lets assume for a second they are not drugged out tweekers. Sleeping at the river doesn’t make you a druggy. My family has slept many nights in the back of our vehicle. No drug use by us. Many are the reasons someone would sleep in the vehicle. If you don’t live near a river, you might not have any idea how the river works, you might park a bit closer than you should. Maybe this was an honest mistake. Maybe they simply didn’t realize the river would rise like that. Dumb decision to park that close to the river during a storm, yes. Making them out to be druggy bums, no.

  • Thank you rescuers! Gives me back my faith in humanity; that you went back for the dogs 🙂

  • Pingback: When a Top-Notch All Volunteer Rescue Team Needs You, What Do You Do? – Redheaded Blackbelt

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