A desperate message scrawled across a rooftop led to a dramatic rescue in Hurricane-ravage Puerto Rico.
This past Sunday, the crew of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) UH-60 helicopter were conducting search and rescue operations in the country’s mountainous southern regions when something caught their eye.
As captured in footage shot by one of the crew members, the words “HELP” were written across the roof of a damaged building. It would later be revealed that the home, part of a series of small buildings, had been cut off from the outside world after Hurricane Maria’s punishing winds and rain caused a landslide which cut off the only road to the dwelling.
Five days after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm, many of the more than 3.4-million American citizens there are still without adequate food, water and fuel. Making matters worse, power might not be restored for more than a month.
According to the CBP, the crew had to land the helicopter on a mountaintop and then make their way on foot to the location, pushing their way through fallen trees and underbrush.
Upon arrival, the search and rescue team discovered three members of the family were in “medical distress.” The team’s EMT was able to stabilize them, however they were not evacuated and the CBP team departed on another rescue.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection have contributed heavily to the relief and recovery effort in Puerto Rico since Maria made landfall last week.
“Extraordinarily dedicated Air and Marine Operations crews are working closely with federal partners and first responders transporting supplies and lending advanced capabilities to aid relief efforts,” said Jacksonville Blanchard, Director of National Air Security Operations Center for the CBP. “Air and Marine Operations will continue to conduct humanitarian flights and help those in need as part of our mission to serve and protect the American people.”
U.S. President Donald Trump plans to visit the island next week, saying it’s the earliest he said he can go without disrupting recovery operations.