The Main Stream

Aug 18, 2012 1:36 AM by Sam Salzwedel

Tucson firefighters practice swift water rescue

TUCSON - Firefighters practiced a swift water rescue Friday afternoon.

"The monsoon's not done, so we're not done," Tucson Fire Capt. Barrett Baker said. "We have to continue to practice."

The drill was at the Santa Cruz River bridge at Starr Pass Boulevard.

The wash was not running, but firefighters tried to make the exercise as difficult as possible.

"The challenge is when you have to actually get more like MacGyver," Baker said, "where things don't go smoothly."

During part of the drill rescuers could not see the simulated victim. They had to get a rope to somebody underneath the bridge from the top.

The practice was important because a man died in the Santa Cruz River after holding on to a pillar near Grant Road last summer.

"We're on the back half of the Monsoon," Baker said, "but we've already had to do it a few times this season, and once is too many."

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