SAN DIEGO — A San Diego-based U.S. Coast Guard crew spent Tuesday rescuing people in flooding and mudslide areas in Santa Barbara County.
A five-man crew on an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter left Coast Guard headquarters around 9 a.m.
“Landslides in California happen — we were prepared to help out in any way we could,” said PO1 Rob Simpson.
Around 11:30 a.m., the crew was called on to help a family in distress in Carpinteria.
The crew rescued the family — a father and mother, their newborn, seven-year-old son and three-year-old daughter — along with two dogs.
“I know the area had been severely impacted by the flooding — definitely a life and death situation. Crews could not get in by the road,” said Simpson.
The crew returned to San Diego Tuesday evening and FOX 5 spoke to the two rescue swimmers and co-pilot. They brought back with them video of the rescue. In the video, you see rescue swimmers William Arrison and Erin Custer hard at work.
“The first floor of their house was about three, four feet of mud so they were having to wade through. We then didn’t decide to put the basket down in the mud just because we didn’t know what was underneath the mud. So, we decided to hoist them from the roof, but we did have to pull them from the roof in order to hoist them up to the helicopter,” Custer said.
Up they went. The whole family, including their pit bull and Rottweiler, were lifted by basket safely into the helicopter. It was a relieving moment for the whole crew including Lt. Junior Grade Treston Taylor.
“This is my first time sitting in the right seat actually doing the hoisting. This was a first for me and it was extremely humbling to be able to sit there and see Billy and Erin and our flight medic Jake being able to work together to get all of those people up in the aircraft,” Taylor said.
The U.S. Coast Guard crew went on to help evacuate people from a golf course.
“We landed in the golf course. We loaded as many people in the helicopter as we could and then brought them back to Santa Barbara and then just kept making trips back and forth,” Taylor said.
Finally, after a long day’s work, they touched back down in San Diego and walked off the helicopter with smiles from ear to ear, feeling proud that they accomplished their mission.
“We just show up to work. We do what we have to do and we’re happy to go home at the end of the day and we’re certainly happy that other people were able to go home at the end of the day,” Taylor said.
— Kristen Shanahan (@kshanahanWDRB) January 10, 2018
Another U.S. Coast Crew is also back home after being deployed to help with the mudslide.