The recent wildfires in California, along with torrential rains, have created devastating mudslides in residential areas. For one family, what began as a nightmare ended in thankfulness.
Muddy water came roaring through the area early in the morning, destroying homes and creating devastation in its path. The water rose so quickly that evacuations became difficult.
As floodwaters surrounded the house of one Santa Barbara family, it became clear that there would be no way to navigate through them.
The family of five had no choice but to climb to the roof of their home.
A MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from the Coast Guard came to the rescue as the family waited for help.
“The first floor of their house was about three, four feet of mud so they were having to wade through,” said rescuer Erin Custer.
The helicopter team soon realized that the only way out was by airlift from the roof. They felt that the surrounding mud would be too unstable.
The family was taken one by one from the top of their home, including the family’s newborn baby. The family’s two dogs were not forgotten by the rescuers, either.
The footage is amazing to watch. Rescuers scaled the roof, child in hand, as they inched toward the waiting basket.
The crew remained calm as they loaded one of the family dogs into the rescue basket. There is also footage of the mother being lifted to safety.
The heroism of these rescuers is amazing to witness as the entire event was caught on video.
This terrifying situation could have been tragic if not for the courage of this brave team.
Petty Officer First Class Rob Simpson acknowledged that the area was unreachable by any other method.
“I know the area had been severely impacted by the flooding — definitely a life and death situation,” Simpson said. “Crews could not get in by the road.”
The family was taken to a holding area to recover. But the MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew continued to go back, saving many more stranded people.
The team went on to rescue people and pets located in a shelter. Though they may believe that they are just doing their job, it takes an amazing person to risk their life to help others.
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