Three California firefighters pulled off a daring rescue Sunday, pulling four family members from a pickup that had been swept away by rushing floodwaters.

“It’s like stuff you see in the movies,” said 42-year-old Captain Todd Bradstreet, an 18-year veteran of the Murietta fire service. “I’ve done little swiftwater rescues here and there, but nothing to this magnitude.”

Bradstreet was one of three men in the water when the time to rescue the four occupants of the truck -which included two small children- were running out of time in a flooded low area known as Yoder Wash. His partner, Captain Sean DeGrave, had previously swam out on a tether to explain the rescue process to the family, who was running out of time.

“As far as the number of patients and the quickly moving water, this was the most complex I’ve been on,” said the 35-year-old DeGrave, who has been a firefighter for 10 years.

After Degrave was reeled back in, Bradstreet was sent in to pick up the children.

Another view of the rescues:

“You do so much training all the time and most of the stuff you do (daily responses) is benign, so I was excited to be able to use the training,” Bradstreet said. “The mother in the car was saying the car was moving so that put a little different feeling- this is getting urgent and we might have to go faster than we wanted to.”

Shortly after being recovered, an exhausted Bradstreet was relieved by Engineer Mike Macalinao, who jumped in for the next wave of rescues.

“It’s very strong,” Macalinao said. “It puts a beating on you, especially when your adrenaline is rushing.” This is the craziest thing I’ve ever done compared to any fire I’ve been on, and it was very rewarding.”

According to the Press-Enterprise, all personnel were safely rescued from the vehicle.
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