The Coast Guard Foundation will be honoring the Santa Barbara mudslide response team at its San Francisco Awards Dinner on May 14. Rear Admiral Peter Gautier, Commander, 11 District and Admiral Karl Schultz, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, will be keynote speakers.
On January 9th 2018, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department requested the Coast Guard’s assistance during a rescue operation that required responses to 50 separate calls to a mudslide. Local aircraft couldn’t respond, but the Coast Guard sent an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Forward Operating Base Point Mugu and an MH-60 Seahawk helicopter from Sector San Diego. Additionally, Sector Los Angeles — Long Beach Command Center coordinated an interagency rescue effort and managed inquiries from local and national media. The Coast Guard’s air liaison officer was deployed to the Santa Barbara Incident Command Post to coordinate ground units and seven helicopters from multiple agencies.
Heavy rain, low ceilings and poor visibility challenged the crews and the first Coast Guard helicopter arrived on-scene and conducted a medical evacuation of two victims suffering from burns received during an explosion. Other rescues included rooftop evacuations, removing a trapped dialysis patient and having to extract a family trapped in its home’s attic in the Montecito area. The Coast Guard estimates that it saved nine lives and assisted 29 displaced people and rescued 15 pets.
“The brave men and women of the United States Coast Guard are constantly demonstrating their selfless dedication to their challenging mission,” Susan Ludwig, president of the Coast Guard Foundation, said in a statement. “The professionalism displayed by all members of the Santa Barbara County Mudslide Rescue Team are in keeping with the highest tradition of the United States Coast Guard.”
The dinner will be held at the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco. A cocktail reception will begin at 6:30 p.m. with dinner and the program to follow.
A video of the rescue can be seen by clicking here.