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Woman And Service Dog Cling To Sinking Car As River Waters Rise

Written by: Molly Weinfurter
Molly Weinfurter is a writer for iHeartDogs, and she’s passionate about helping animals in need. She volunteers for Bailing Out Benji and a local dog rescue.Read more
| Published on November 16, 2021

Laura Larsen and her service dog named Bailey love to go on outdoor adventures. Recently, they parked near the shore of the Yakima River in Washington. But when the water suddenly rose, car complications occurred. Larsen and Bailey were unable to drive away in time, causing the car to get swept away with them inside.

Officials eventually found Larsen and Bailey sitting on top of their sinking car through drone footage. It’s unclear how long the two were stranded on the massive river, but it was an adventure they’re both lucky to have survived. Their story reminds other adventurous individuals to always be cautious.

Service dogs playing

Vehicle Swept Away

While authorities didn’t explain how Larsen’s car ended up in the water, she shared her story in the Facebook comments. She explained that it wasn’t her proudest moment, but she’s very grateful to all the brave people who came to save her.

“We were on a gravel area near the river just across a shallow side channel we’ve been across frequently. Unfortunately, the water level rose quickly and drastically, and the fog contributed to a huge misjudgment as to depth, in our attempt to return to safety,” wrote Larsen. “When the engine died, we were swept downriver so quickly, there wasn’t time to do much more than get the windows down before the power failed, grab my phone, and get onto the roof to call for help.”

Floating car top view

Larsen added that she had to break the back window to get Bailey out of the car. Then, the two of them scrambled to the roof of the car while they waited for help to arrive. The Yakima County Fire District #5, the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office, and the City of Yakima Fire Department all worked together to locate the woman and her dog. They used drones to find the exact location.

Heroes Swim to the Rescue

It was dark and foggy, but the reflection of a flashlight in the dog’s eyes helped rescuers find Larsen and Bailey. Otherwise, they might’ve driven past them by mistake.

Rescuers saving woman and dog

Officials used a large raft to paddle out to the car to rescue Larsen and Bailey from the river. Then, the raft drifted downriver a bit further toward other first responders. Fire officials said it was an incredible example of teamwork from multiple agencies.

“I want to express my great appreciation and thanks to all of the wonderful first responders who came to my aid! I’m extremely thankful for their selfless heroism. I never thought I would end up a recipient of it!” wrote Larsen.

Car sinking in water

Once safely on shore, Larsen was treated by EMS personnel. Luckily, Larsen and Bailey left the river with no reported injuries. They got to return home that same night.

Featured Image: Facebook

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