The moment rescuers freed a teenager trapped for hours beneath mounds of wreckage and rubble after mudslides killed at least 13 people in California has been captured on video.
Footage shows Lauren Cantin, 14, caked in mud as she is pulled to safety by firefighters in the Santa Barbara County community of Montecito after heavy downpours on Tuesday.
“I thought I was dead there for a minute,” she told rescuers as they lifted her from the debris, NBC reported, following a six hour operation to free her.
The broadcaster said firefighters heard Lauren’s scream through the roar of pounding rain, and with the help of search dogs, were able to locate and rescue her.
Wildfires that ravaged the scenic Southern California coastline last month, had burned off protective vegetation leaving the community vulnerable, authorities said, adding that mudslides and debris had been strong enough to move boulders.
“The best way I can describe it is, it looked like a World War One battlefield,” Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said of the devastation.
Heavy downpours struck before dawn on Tuesday after thousands of residents along the Pacific coast north of Los Angeles were ordered to evacuate or urged to do so voluntarily, some of them for a second time since December.
But only 10 to 15 percent complied with mandatory orders, said Amber Anderson, a spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.
Emergency workers using search dogs and helicopters rescued dozens of people stranded in mud-coated rubble in the normally pristine area, sandwiched between the ocean and the sprawling Los Padres National Forest, about 110 miles (177Kms) north of Los Angeles.
Sheriffs deputies carry a body in Montecito, California; at least 13 people have been killed by mudslides” alt=”Sheriffs deputies carry a body in Montecito, California; at least 13 people have been killed by mudslides” data-credit=”Wally Skalij via Getty Images” data-portal-copyright=”Wally Skalij via Getty Images” data-provider=”getty” data-provider-asset-id=”903128944″ data-has-syndication-rights=”true”>
The upscale communities of Montecito and Carpenteria, just outside the city of Santa Barbara, were hardest hit.
The mudslides toppled trees, demolished cars and covered blocks of quiet residential neighbourhoods with a thick layer of mud, blocking Highway 101, a major north-south route along the coast.
The death toll could rise, with rescue workers still picking through dozens of damaged and demolished homes in the search for survivors, Brown said. At one point on Tuesday, at least two dozen people were missing, but Brown said later in the …read more
Source:: The Huffington Post – UK Tec