Medical transport van gets trapped in flooded Scottsdale wash

August 23, 2012

For a third night in a row, Arizona was hit by heavy rain. Sky Harbor recorded eight tenths of an inch. Other parts of the Valley saw well over an inch, like Scottsdale -- where a driver tried to cross a flooded wash and became trapped. 

van trapped in water van trapped in water A medican transport van was trapped in a flooded area of Scottsdale on Thursday. Occupants had to be rescued through the windows. (Photos by Nick Blumberg - KJZZ)

Early Thursday morning, the driver of a medical transport van attempted to cross Roosevelt Street at 77th Street, even though the street was underwater and clearly marked “Do not enter when flooded.”

The van was pushed off the road by the strong current. Scottsdale Fire Captain Mike Virgadamo said crews arrived around 5:30 a.m., but waited an hour or so for more sunlight.

“I talked with the chief when we first arrived, and I’m like, ‘This has gotta be a joke, because there is nothing going right on this call,’" Virgadamo said. "We had everything going against us. The angle, the depth of the water -- it’s about four to five feet deep right on the side of the van. There was no way to open the door, the way the water pressure was pushing against those side doors, we couldn’t open the door.”

Fire crews used a truck with a ladder bucket, like a cherry picker, to rescue the driver and the wheelchair-bound passenger through the van’s windows. Firefighters had to crawl through the back door of the vehicle to help the elderly man out. He was transported to Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center with minor cuts and bruises.

Scottsdale Police haven’t yet determined if they’ll cite the driver.

Updated 8/23/2012 at 1:05 p.m.

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