SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — San Diego City officials honored a local Coast Guard crew on Tuesday for their heroic rescue efforts following last month's devastating mudslides in Santa Barbara County.
The group was one of the first teams to respond and helped save several people and pets trapped on rooftops.
The U.S. Coast Guard's San Diego-based Jayhawk helicopter crew remains humble, despite their heroic actions in Carpinteria that saved lives.
"We're just out there doing our job," said pilot Wayne O'Donnell. "Our training puts us in this position. This is what our job is, so we were happy to help the folks in Santa Barbara."
On Jan. 10, they responded to a mudslide in an area that had been ravaged by wildfire.
Dozens of people were swept away, others were stranded.
Video shows the crew hoisting a family from their roof to safety - including a mother and her infant baby girl.
"I put her baby with her inside the basket, which means she had to leave her other two small children down on the home," said rescue swimmer Erin Custer. "The other rescue swimmer and I just made sure to let her know that myself and the crew were gonna get her family and her dogs up safely."
On Tuesday, the San Diego City Council dedicated Feb. 6 in honor of the crew.
"And to them, men and the women of the Coast Guard sector San Diego, your heroic actions keep our city, our region, our state, and our great nation protected and safe," said Mayor Kevin Faulconer.
In total, they helped rescue 20 evacuees and animals.
Just one example of what our San Diego Coast Guard does year-round, including last year when they responded to 391 search-and-rescue cases.
It's what the crew loves to do, saying the payoff is the feeling they get from helping someone in need.
"Once we're down there, we're just trying to help the families and make sure everyone comes up safely," said Custer.