Sunday, June 16, 2024

Search for 4 people swept away in Ontario flood to continue into weekend

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The days-long search for four people who remain unaccounted for after floodwaters swept away 10 in Ontario will continue into the weekend, authorities said Friday.

Ontario Fire Department’s Urban Search and Rescue Team did not find any survivors or bodies Friday, ending its search around 5 p.m., said Dan Bell, the city’s director of communications and community relations.

Efforts will continue over the weekend and could extend into the coming week. “They’re going to keep going,” Bell said.

In addition to Fire Department personnel, authorities are using drones and a police helicopter equipped with an infrared camera to assist with the search, Bell said.

The floodwaters Tuesday tore through a homeless encampment near John Galvin Park, set up along a wash that filters downstream into a retention basin near Philadelphia Street and Baker Avenue, fire officials said. One man was found dead, identified Thursday by the San Bernardino County coroner as Anthony Ray Lopez Sr., 63, of Ontario.

Crews hope that at least some of the four missing people are alive and perhaps have not yet checked in with anyone, but know it’s possible they are dead, Bell said.

Authorities have been asking unhoused people in the area whether anyone has seen the missing people, and they are in daily communication with the missing individuals’ families, Bell said.

Firefighters responded around 9:45 a.m. Tuesday to the 1200 block of East 4th Street after 10 people were swept away, according to the Fire Department. Five people were rescued, and Lopez was found dead.

On Friday, Bell confirmed crews were searching for four people who remained unaccounted for, but he said he could not identify any of the missing individuals.

Among the missing, fire officials confirmed Thursday, is Josephine Dominguez, 28.

Her brother-in-law, 26-year-old Miguel Batease, told The Times this week that Dominguez wasn’t homeless and was in the channel Tuesday because she knew some of the people living there.

“She would go to where all the homeless people are to speak the word of God,” Batease said. “It’s very unfortunate. When Mother Nature comes, there’s no fighting it. It’s very sad.”

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