Caught on camera: South Austin water rescue takes dangerous turn

A water rescue in South Austin was caught on camera, capturing the moment an Austin police officer falls in rushing water while trying to rescue a man clinging to a tree in a creek. His body camera shows him holding onto a nearby tree.

First responders were called out to a creek in South Austin where it was flooding during Thursday night’s storm. 

“It was close to a homeless camp. The people in the area were living in this homeless camp,” said Commander Brian Jones with APD.
The first officer to arrive was quickly told someone was trapped in the water. The officer made his way to the creek yelling to try and locate the person. He eventually hears a faint yell back. After locating the man clinging to a tree in the water, the officer falls in.
Another officer's body cam shows him throwing a rope to the officer in the water, all while the storm continues to rage. Eventually both the officer and the victim were able to make it back to shore.

“That person immediately left the area without having a chance for us to identify him,” said Commander Jones.
Shortly after the water rescue, first responders evacuated the camp up to street level so that no one else would get swept away.

“It's extremely dangerous, that's part of the reason for the ordinance for people experiencing homelessness and where they can and can't camp is that we cannot let them camp near areas that are prone to flooding,” said Jones.

Thursday's storm also causing problems across other parts of Austin. In Downtown a tree snapped on Congress and crews spent Friday morning cutting and removing it from the area. Over on Lamar, a six-story trash shoot came crashing down on a walkway.

In all of these incidents, no injuries were reported.