Helicopter Crew Plucks Man From LA River

The man was first spotted near the First Street bridge, then he floated about four miles downstream

Firefighters in a helicopter plucked a man from the rain-swollen Los Angeles River Sunday, after he floated some four miles downstream.

The man, dressed in all black, was spotted in the water just before 8 a.m. near the First Street bridge just east of downtown, Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Erik Scott said. It was not determined whether the man jumped or fell in.

Police officers tried to rescue him at Sixth Street and Olympic Boulevard but the man drifted past before they could get to him. He was followed from above by a police helicopter.

A team in the Fire Department's Air 3 helicopter was able to grab the man from the water near Vernon, where the river widens and the currents get slower.

Video shot by firefighters showed the chopper hovering and moving backward along with the churning water beneath high-voltage power lines that line the river, City News Service reported.

The pilot is seen in the video flying backward, nearly level with the concrete channel's walls, as a firefighter on a harness and cable worked in the river to make contact with the man. The video was shot from a nearby bridge.

The concrete channel was flowing with "a lot of debris, heavy logs, trash," according to Fire Capt. Steve Ruda.

The man was flown to a hospital, where he was reported in stable condition.

Officials said he was conscious and talking with rescuers. His name was not released.

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