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Two men rescued by TFD after spending 1.5 hours stranded under bridge

Posted at 12:02 AM, Apr 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-29 01:23:32-04

TULSA, Okla. — The Tulsa Fire Department’s water rescue training paid off, Tuesday evening.

Alfredo Mendoza and Rafael Jacob were saved after they found themselves trapped underneath the Mingo Creek bridge at E 41 Street.

Once first responders had a plan, it took less than 10 minutes to get the men out of rushing water.

Mendoza and Jacob say they spent an hour-and-a-half underneath the bridge.

Mendoza said, “The tornado came and we went under to get away. It was dry [the creek], but the water rose.”

The men held onto the underside of the bridge in waist-high water.

Bryan Lloyd, Chief Officer for the Tulsa Fire Department, said, “Within 60, 120 seconds, the water level rose; they couldn’t get back out. Six inches of water moving that fast -- as soon as you step in it, no matter how big or strong you are, you’re getting swept off.”

So, the first thing they did was drop life jackets. Then, ropes. They relied on the current to push them onto the bank

“We lowered a rescue line to them and we told them to just let go. The current was so strong we knew it would push them to one side,” said Chief Officer Lloyd.

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