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Fire crews: Nobody found after extensive search in flood channel incidents

Updated August 24, 2023 - 6:51 pm

None of a handful of people that were reported to have fallen into two Las Vegas storm channels during a Wednesday rainstorm have been found despite a ground and air search.

Nearly 30 Clark County Fire Department firefighters as well as law enforcement officers, including a search and rescue helicopter, and staffers from private ambulance services were deployed during the search, the fire department said in an email.

The search included a Thursday morning search of the Flamingo wash from Nellis to Desert Inn in an attempt to locate any persons who may have been swept downstream and caught in debris and shrubbery along the shoreline. No one was found.

The first call for help came shortly before 9 p.m. near Winnick Avenue and Koval Lane, and resulted in one person being rescued and a woman believed missing, Metropolitan Police Department Lt. Miguel Ibarra said.

Firefighters assisted a man out of the water. He reported that two additional persons, a male and a female, were swept downstream. Later reports claimed a possible third victim was seen in the water.

Firefighters with swift-water rescue equipment were placed downstream to be able to spot and rescue potential victims. Crews downstream reported contacting witnesses who said they saw the two people matching the original description climb out of the water. Aside from the male who was helped from the water, none of the other three victims was ever spotted by CCFD personnel.”

The second event occurred shortly before 9:30 p.m. on East Sahara from Lamb to Nellis boulevards on reports of a man who was being washed away.

CCFD again deployed firefighters along the wash, and a helicopter was used to aid in the search of the channel.

The victim was last reported to be seen at Nellis and Sahara, according to the fire department. Crews positioned along the banks downstream to at least Sloan. Nobody was located.

The episodes point out the dangers of rushing water in the channels, CCFD said.

“The water in Clark County’s storm drains and washes moves at an alarming and dangerous rate and many times without warning,” wrote CCFD spokesman Thomas Touchstone. “Victims can be carried downstream faster than emergency responders receive the call and have the opportunity to react. After storm water moves through washes, the debris piles remaining are extensive and reveal areas where a victim moving in the water could have been caught and hidden from crews searching during the event or afterwards. It is always recommended to stay out of washes and storm drains regardless of weather reports and sky conditions.”

Some small but potent storm cells brought record rain, lightning and thunder to the central Las Vegas Valley starting about 8 p.m. Wednesday.

A gauge showed 1.34 inches fell within an hour at a pump station at Desert Inn Road near Las Vegas Boulevard.

Nearly a quarter-inch of rain fell in 30 minutes just south of the airport. Some street flooding was reported from Paradise Road and East Sahara Avenue through the central valley to the Arts District.

Contact Marvin Clemons at mclemons@reviewjournal.com. Follow @Marv_in_Vegas on X.

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