Officers rescue man in wheelchair from neck-deep water after fall into canal

Bodycam footage shows rescue of man in wheelchair who fell into Phoenix canal

PHOENIX (KPHO/KTVK) - A man who uses a wheelchair survived a terrifying ordeal after he fell into the water of a Phoenix canal and ended up neck-deep. Two police officers jumped into action to rescue him.

Officers Justin Hopkins and Jacob Garcia with Phoenix Police knew they had to act fast to save a man who uses a wheelchair when he fell into a canal on May 8. He lost his wheelchair, got swept 50 feet down by the current and wound up stuck in neck-deep water.

“Saw a man, essentially only his head poking out of the water, gasping for air, screaming for help. At that point, we knew this was something that was a very dangerous situation,” Hopkins said.

Witnesses who saw the man floundering in the water called 911 and officers were soon on scene.

“He was terrified in the water. He was screaming for help, telling us, ‘Please save me. I’m scared. You guys are going to save my life,’” Garcia said.

It took just a second to take action when the officers saw the trouble. One of the bystanders had a rope the officers used to help hoist the man out of the water.

“If the citizens weren’t there that called this in – He was crying for help. That’s how they knew he was there – if they weren’t there, I’m not sure what would have happened. It could have been very bad,” Garcia said.

The man was checked out and treated by paramedics from the Phoenix Fire Department. The officers who rescued him are hoping to reunite with him soon to find out how he’s holding up.

“I joined the police force to do stuff for other people, to put others before myself, so to do this for somebody is why I joined the force,” Garcia said.

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