Coast Guard rescues family from roof in mud-drenched California
Posted January 10, 2018 5:47 a.m. EST
(CNN) — One by one, a family of five trapped by rivers of mud in Southern California climbed to the roof of their home as rescuers swooped in to help them.
A MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew with the US Coast Guard in San Diego was deployed Tuesday to Carpinteria after first responders in Santa Barbara County couldn't get through the muddy floodwaters surrounding the house. Weeks after fires tore through the region, heavy rains sent mud rolling down hillsides in the county; 13 people have died in the storm.
"The first floor of their house was about three, four feet of mud so they were having to wade through," rescuer Erin Custer told CNN affiliate KSWB.
A couple, their three children -- including a newborn -- and two dogs were taken to a nearby staging area, the Coast Guard said.
Video footage from the helicopter shows rescuers pulling the family and their dogs onto the roof of the house before lifting them up in a rescue basket. Custer said they couldn't put the basket down in the mud because they "didn't know what was underneath the mud."
Later Tuesday, the crew along with another Jayhawk team helped rescue more than 20 evacuees and pets from a shelter beset by the storm, officials said.