Black’s Beach during flash flood

Black’s, after the storm
  • Black’s, after the storm

July 19 started out warm and pleasant at Black’s Beach. Around 1 p.m., an intense squall poured rain on the area and destabilized the trails, especially the Box Canyon and Goat Trails as several beach-goers tried to escape exposure to lightning and heavy rain.

This comes from a report from lifeguard Benjamin Lewis: “3S Romero was on a critical pick off rescue at Goat Trail in heavy rain when Black’s guards reported people stuck in Box Canyon. I was on my way to assist 31S when I diverted to Box Canyon call. Kerr and Carter were with me. LGI McIntyre climbed into Box Canyon to evaluate ten people in the lower canyon stuck due to poor footing/rain. A ladder rescue was planned and the ladder set up, but the canyon flash flooded. What was a flowing creek that you could walk up to access the people became swift-moving, deep, and impassable. This prevented us from getting everyone to the ladder extrication point.

“Rocks began falling on them but no one could move. We used the ladder to access the canyon (adjacent to a raging waterfall), but making way in the mud beyond this was near impossible. Kerr managed to barely make it to the victims. Estes gained higher ground by laddering stakes up the slope and finally got a high stake line set up. By this time Copter 2 had been requested and they were able to fly and make the quick capture rescues flying quite low (below the cliff top) with a short cable.

“The first two victims evacuated were small children. I had sent Carter to the top to look at sending a rope down from above but he found five people needing assistance himself. I requested a River unit. We also had moving water in the equation. The Copter 2 crew did a great job. Quick capture was required because there was not [a] spot for the medic to stand. Kerr and McIntyre had to grab the medic’s hand and allow him to grab our fixed line in order to get into position. They received an electrical shock each time they did this.

“The rain slowed and the water level dropped about halfway through the extraction process. All LGs made it out fine but one stake from U3 is still in the canyon and one radio buried at the base of the waterfall. Several radios were water damaged or lost.”

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