Fire and rescue crews airlifted a dog Friday from the cold and fast-moving Los Angeles River in Vernon.
The dog had been balancing on a concrete ledge, just above the water level, for more than one hour near 26th and Soto streets. Two fire engines were positioned on a railroad overpass above the dog. Firefighters lowered a floatation ring from the overpass in an attempt to get the dog to move down-river toward a swift-water rescue team positioned on the 26th Street bridge.
At about 12:20 p.m., a member of the swift-water rescue team entered the river and began moving toward the dog, which moved off the ledge into shallow water south of the 26th Street bridge.
The dog tried to escape by climbing the slick and steep concrete barrier, but repeatedly slipped back into the wash.
The helicopter crew followed the dog as it moved toward the river's concrete wall. A rescuer lowered from the helicopter wrapped his arms around the squirming dog and held tight as they were hoisted to safety on a harness.
The rescuer was taken to USC Medical Center and treated for dog bites. The dog was transported to an animal shelter.
A Vernon police officer said a 911 caller notified authorities about the dog. Authorities said they are not sure how the dog became trapped in the river.
City fire spokesman Erik Scott said at least 50 firefighters responded.
Shelter officials said many people have called to ask about adopting the rescued dog, but they also mentioned many animals are in need of a home.