SANDWICH (CBS) — Coast Guard members stationed on New England were among many who helped rescue people from Beaumont’s rising flood waters.
Their mission was important and in two days, they rescued more than one hundred people.
Unit Commander Simon Green says their mission was serious.
“It was life or death to get these people up the helicopter because the water’s still rising,” Green said.
Green says the people rescued were all different, but all of them were just as serious.
“A woman going into labor or a diabetic without meds, or whatever it may be. So those were triaged, and those were the ones we tried to focus on but a lot of times we’d get to a place,” Green said.
And sometimes, they had crowds of people begging for rescue.
“Folks would start coming out of their house, knowing it was kinda now or never because we were there. I mean at times we had 30-40 people standing under the helicopter,” Green said.
Crew member Joshua Rice served during Hurricane Katrina and he said this mission gave him flashbacks.
“When we came into Houston, when we were able to see the ground, I think everyone in the aircraft was a little taken back exactly the extent of damage from the storm. We weren’t guite sure what to expect but it was overwhelming for sure,” Rice said.
However, Rescue Swimmer Brendan Kiley says one rescue stands out above all the others.
A woman was pulled into the helicopter and she was holding a baby.
Then she handed Kiley a plastic bin and he started to tell her that the chopper couldn’t hold the container. Then she told him what was inside.
“She’s like, ‘My babies are in there,’ and you know, the lid was snapped down, so I didn’t know what she was talking about,” Kiley said.
Kiley says he was started.
“I said, ‘What are you talking about?’ And I opened it and there is a two-year-old holding an infant inside, not screaming, not crying, just big eyes looking at me. It’s like, ‘What’s up man?'” Kiley said. “That was pretty incredible.”
Kiley said he panicked at first when he saw the children, but quickly focused on getting everyone to safety.