|Seabees Help Firefighters Rescue Family in BMW on Highway 101|
THU JAN 12 2012 Buellton, California — Six Seabees with a military forklift helped Santa Barbara County firefighter/paramedics rescue a woman and her two daughters that were trapped in a BMW that was hanging from bridge. The BMW was rear-ended by a large truck carrying gravel on northbound Highway 101. The truck cab and dump trailer broke through the bridge guard rail and fell 75 feet below bout 2:40 p.m. Thursday, January 12, 2012. The truck burst into flames, and the truck driver was killed instantly.
Back up at the bridge, the BMW was crumpled with three passengers trapped inside, and the BMW at risk of falling off the bridge.
Next came the Seabeas headed to Port Hueneme, stuck in traffic, but offering to help. Petty Officers Michael McCracken, Frankie Cruz, Shawn Legg, Benjamin Mead and James Winters and Constructionman Clinton Roberts of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 3 and the 31st Seabee Readiness Group. They alsojust happended to arrive with a military forklift with an extendable boom. The forklift was deployed to support the wrecked vehicle while firefighters dragged the vehicle to safety on to the northbound lanes. During the rescue operation firefighters on the northbound land sector communicated with firefighters on the southbound sector of the bridge, while the Seabees operated their forklift. All involved in the operation were concerned with keeping the vehicle stable, so that it didn’t crush the passengers or fall apart during the rescue.
The passengers were transported to area hospitals with injuries ranging from minor to serious.
Seabees are members of the United States Navy construction battalions, and the word ‘Seabee’ comes from the initials ‘CB’ for Construction Battalion. The SeaBees hav a long history of builing military bases, roadways and airstrips dating back to World War II. Seabeas have also been involved in support of disaster recovery efforts for victims of earthquakes and hurricanes.