Phoenix Fire Department rescuers said a man is lucky to be alive today after being stuck in a canal for more than an hour before being pulled out Friday morning.
Fire crews worked for about an hour, going as far as using a blowtorch, to free the 53-year-old man whose leg was trapped in the grate of a canal near 48th and Washington streets.
A bicyclist heard the man calling for help around 6:30 a.m., public information officer Capt. Mark Vanacore said. The Fire Department is not sure how the man got in the water, or how long he had been trapped before being found.
When crews arrived, they found the man with his leg stuck up to his knee in 5 feet of water. The man’s head was barely above water, Vanacore said.
First responders were unable to get the man out of the water using traditional equipment and were forced to call in special equipment from a specialty technical rescue truck to aid them.
Fire crews used their own jackets to protect the man from sparks as they pulled apart the grates using a blow torch. The man was lifted out of the water approximately after an hour of efforts by the Fire Department.
The man was taken to a hospital in stable condition for further medical evaluation. Crews were worried the man had spent too much time in the water and might get hypothermia.
Vanacore said he has seen many cases like this turn deadly, and that the man is very lucky to still be alive.
“Some things definitely fell in this guy’s favor,” Vanacore said.