California

Baby plucked from the mud, helicopter rescues family in Santa Barbara County

First responders have rescued dozens of people since early Tuesday morning, when intense downpours caused mudslides and flash flooding in Santa Barbara County that killed 17 people.

On Tuesday, responders conducted at least 50 hoist rescues and dozens of contact rescues, according to a Tuesday evening press conference.

Rescuers pulled a 14-year-old girl out of a destroyed home in the 300 block of Hot Springs Drive in Montecito. The girl had spent hours inside the home before she was rescued.

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And a boy was rescued by firefighters after mud flows carried him hundreds of yards and left him under a freeway overpass, the New York Times reported.

Also on Tuesday, a Coast Guard helicopter crew from San Diego rescued a family of five — two adults, a newborn, a 7-year-old and a 3-year-old, plus their two dogs — after their house was overtaken by a mudslide.

Elsewhere, an unidentified man told the Weather Channel that, after he and his wife climbed to safety from the mudslides, they heard a baby crying when they went to go check on a neighbor. A firefighter came over, and together they dug into the mud and found the baby.

“I don’t know where it came from,” he said, looking visibly upset. “We got it, got the mud out of its mouth. ... I hope it’s OK.” He said responders took the baby to a hospital.

In addition to rescuing those trapped in homes and vehicles, emergency workers are also focused on evacuating about 300 people who were trapped in Romero Canyon with no way in or out.

“They are completely cut off. They are otherwise safe, but unable to get in or out,” Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said in a Tuesday night press conference.

Brown also said responders’ efforts are focused on actively rescuing as many as they can and determining whether anyone is still alive in structures that have been damaged.

Gabby Ferreira: 805-781-7858, @Its_GabbyF

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