About 10 homeless people were swept away from an encampment by raging floodwaters, and another is missing and presumed dead.
On Tuesday, a record-breaking storm hit the southern California city of Ontario, about 40 miles east of Los Angeles.
Approximately 9:46 a.m., police were called to the scene of a water basin near a homeless camp where people reported seeing a group swept away by a sudden flood.
It is believed that 10 people were swept away in the flood. Among them, five were rescued, one died, and four others are still missing and presumed dead.
It was later identified that the one fatality was 63-year-old Anthony Ray Lopez Sr. from Ontario, Canada. He was found nearly three miles from where he was first swept away.
During its recovery operation, the Ontario Fire Department used sonar technology.
One of the survivors spoke with KTLA-TV about her experience.
“The water just came, and there was nothing we could do,” Cassandra Gonzalez cried, believing that one of her best friends was missing.
“When I would go underwater, I would just try to make sure that I came back up,” she said. “I made sure I wouldn’t hit the middles that separated the tunnels.”
At the time of this writing, four people were still missing and two missing persons reports had been filed with the Ontario Police Department. According to authorities, some of the missing may have climbed to safety on their own.
Josephine Dominguez, 28, was one of those still missing, according to police.
The storm drains have lots of “no trespassing” signs, but homeless people disregard them and end up in great danger during heavy rains.
“We really need to stress to our public the dangers associated with these flood control channels and we need to stay out of there, at all costs, because the risk associated with being down there, because of the sudden changes in weather and the flow of water, incidents like this unfortunately could occur,” Deputy Chief Mike Wedell explained.