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Orland man rescued from flood waters
Look for video of rescue on this website.
Rescue personnel pulled an Orland man to safety from swollen creek waters Wednesday morning north of Corning.
Gary Wood, 76, of Orland, was northbound on Hall Road around 8:46 a.m. and for unknown reasons tried to cross the Thomes Creek waters that had flooded over the roadway.
“I saw the whole thing. The road was completely flooded, but the guy just drove right into it, said Adam Pendergraft.
“I knew what was going to happen the minute he started to drive into the water,” he said.
There were no roadblocks on the road, nor signs indicating the road was flooded. The car was quickly swept down stream before it became lodged on debris.
Pendergraft said he immediately called 911.
Rescue crews responded to the scene and a ground rescue was initiated with the Tehama County Sheriff’s Swift Water Rescue Team.
Wood remained in the vehicle, which was stuck about 15 feet from the north bank of the creek, the water lapping at the rim of the open windows.
The rescue team successfully threw a life jacket attached to a rope to the stranded man.
Wood put the life jacket on and tied the rope to the steering wheel, while rescuers waited for a sheriff’s rescue boat to arrive.
CalFire Vina Helitack rescue personnel arrived in a helicopter, and after circling several times fighting wind gusts of 20 mph, were able to use the Hellcat’s new motorized cable hoist to attach and lift Wood from the partially submerged Toyota.
“We lowered the cable about 90 feet with rescuer Fire Capt. Ethan Darnall attached to the end and were able to instruct the victim to partially climb out the passenger side window,” said CalFire Battalion Chief Randy Rapp.
Darnall secured Woods to the cable with a rescue device and the helicopter lifted them to the bank where personnel were waiting.
Medical personnel on scene attended to Woods, who did not appear to be injured, Rapp said.
“This was the first time we where able to use our new motorized cable hoist in a live rescue,” Rapp said. “I’m pleased things went so well.”
The Tehama County Public Works Department has since issued road closure notifications for Hall Road at Thomes Creek and Paskenta Road at Red Bank Creek.