LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KVIA) -- A Las Cruces man and his dog were saved by quick-thinking firefighters after they became stuck in a swift current. The water rescue operation happened late Wednesday.
At approximately 8:40 p.m., the fire department responded to an emergency call from a passerby, who reported hearing a man's desperate calls for help on the 200 block of East Boutz Road. Upon their arrival, the firefighters discovered that the man and his dog were trapped inside a water-filled culvert running underneath Boutz Road, part of the irrigation canal running north to south along Main Street.
The strength of the current flowing through the culvert had rendered the man and his dog helpless, preventing them from escaping the water. The rescue operation was further complicated as the firefighters initially could not see the trapped pair.
The swift response team, however, spoke to the man then lowered a ladder into the mouth of the culvert. They told him to grab hold of the ladder while they lowered a harness to hoist his dog out of the fast-moving water.
Once the dog was out of danger, the 56-year-old man managed to climb the ladder on his own. Emergency medical personnel checked the man and the dog. They were both allowed to go home.
Reflecting on the potential danger of the situation, the team noted that the outcome could have been far more severe if the pair had been swept further into the underground section of the canal. The canal extends several hundred feet underground, beyond Boutz Road, and does not surface again until it reaches El Paseo Road.
The Las Cruces Fire Department has issued a reminder to all local residents of the inherent dangers of canals and culverts, especially during periods of heavy or sustained rainfall. The public has been strongly advised to stay clear of these areas, which can quickly become flood conduits for fast-moving water, rendering them highly dangerous and potentially deadly.