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Passerby Rescues Man, 18, Who Fell Into Pacoima Wash

April 14, 1998

MISSION HILLS — An 18-year-old jogger slipped into the Pacoima Wash on Monday and remained in the water for 40 minutes before a passerby rescued him, authorities said.

The man suffered hypothermia, cuts and bruises, said Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Jim Wells.

The rescue took place behind the 14000 block of San Jose Street about 4 p.m. The jogger was traveling down the wash in water 2 or 3 feet deep and moving about 10 to 15 miles an hour when a man threw the jogger a rope, Wells said. The jogger was in good condition and was taken to Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills for observation, he said.

"It's always best to stay out of the water," Wells said. "This individual lost his footing, and it shows even if the water is shallow . . . it can be difficult to get out."

Wells said if the man had been in the water longer, he could have suffered a more severe case of hyperthermia or been snagged by debris often found in local flood-control washes.

"It could have cost him his life," Wells said.

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