Teen girl, man rescued from Embudo Arroyo flash flood

Updated: 08/14/2014 4:33 PM | Created: 08/13/2014 9:34 PM
By: Caleb James, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A 16-year-old girl was swept up in rushing water while she played with her friend, and witnesses told KOB a man was sleeping under a bridge when flood waters carried him away in the Embudo Arroyo Wednesday afternoon.

Both are safe after being rescued by APD, AFD and a handful of nearby Good Samaritans.

"We were standing in the arroyo," 16-year-old Juanita Womack said. "and the water came, and it swept my feet out from under me."

In a matter of seconds, a wall of water came for Womack. She was swept away before she knew what was happening.

"I was just screaming 'help!'" she said. 

Arian Williams was standing on the arroyo's bank.

"We tried our hardest to get her out," Williams said. He called police after he saw a man fighting the arroyo water.

"He was helpless, he was on his back," Williams said.

Williams saw Womack soon after. He told her to swim to a shallow area and hang on.

"The cops came and we pulled her out," he said.

Some APD officers nearby captured her rescue on lapel cam.

"I cried for a little bit," Womack said.

But there was still someone else in that rushing water.

"There was nothing we could do for him," Williams said. "He was going 15-20 mph down the arroyo."

AFD says he was swept along for three miles.

Swift water rescue crews set up downstream near Carlisle and I-40.

A woman who saw him fall in followed along the channel while she was on the phone with dispatch.

"We just rushed down here," she said. "I just took a guess to come to this location because it's known for rescue."

It was the day's second happy ending, as crews rescued the man while worried neighbors looked on.

Authorities say arroyos can be dangerous even when there's no rain in the immediate area and to stay out of them at all times.

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