Dramatic moment rescuers airlift baby and nine others to safety

Dramatic moment rescuers airlift baby and nine others to safety in Washington state: State of Emergency is declared as heavy rain and high winds tear across the Pacific Northwest

  • A U.S. Coast Guard air crew rescued 6 adults and 4 children from floods near Forks, Washington yesterday 
  • No injuries were reported. All ten residents were evacuated after reporting danger of rising floods waters in the area
  • For the past week, the Pacific Northwest has seen an onslaught of heavy rain and high winds that have been forcing evacuations and schools to close
  • An atmospheric river battered across Washington, Oregon and British Columbia last week, with nearly ceaseless rain, with some areas reporting record rainfall
  • The atmospheric river is categorized at a level 5 — the highest level
  • Late Monday, Governor Jay Inslee declared a severe weather state of emergency in 14 Western Washington counties
  • He said said the state Emergency Management Division, with support from the Washington National and US Coast Guard, would coordinate the response

Dramatic footage captured the moment a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew airlifted ten people, including a baby, from knee-deep flooding that forced evacuations in parts of Washington state after record rainfall in the Pacific Northwest. 

A video tweeted by the Coast Guard Pacific Northwest shows several crew members from Sector Columbia River saving people stranded on the roofs of their homes in murky water on Monday. 

Near the end of the video, a mother is showed being airlifted in a cart onto the helicopter while holding her infant.

Overall, the USCG saved six adults and four children from the floods near Forks, Washington, approximately 150 miles away from Seattle on the state’s Olympic Peninsula.

No injuries were reported from the rescue.


The U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew from Sector Columbia River rescued six adults and four children, included a mother and her baby from floods near Forks, Washington, on Monday

The US Coast Guard video also shows the moment the mother and her infant get safely inside the helicopter after being airlifted above flood water in Forks, Washington

The rescue follows a week of mostly heavy rainfall and high winds coming from an atmospheric river — a huge plume of moisture in the air extending over the Pacific and into the Northwest. It caused extensive flooding and mudslides in the area, forcing schools and part of Interstate 5 to close. 

The National Weather Service issued flood warnings for several rivers around Western Washington until late Wednesday, which has seen nearly constant rain for about a week.

Strong winds also hit the region Monday. 

Gusts pushed 60 mph in multiple places, including a gust of 58 mph at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. 

And more than 158,000 customers were without power in Western Washington at one point Monday afternoon. As of Tuesday, 47,000 more people remained without power, according to PowerOutage.

However, forecasters at the National Weather Service say conditions should improve by Tuesday in some parts of the region, noticeably Seattle. 

More than 158,0000 customers were without power in Western Washington at on Monday. Heavy rainfall and high winds in Washington on Monday caused flooding and mudslides that forced evacuations and closed schools and part of Interstate 5 near Bellingham, as storms pounded the Pacific Northwest

Traffic continues through water over the roadway on Highway 20 on Monday, near Hamilton, Washington. The heavy rainfall of recent days brought major flooding of the Skagit River that is expected to continue into at least Monday evening 

U.S. Highway 101 and state Highway 112 were closed in both directions at several locations due to flooding, cutting off road access to the city of Forks, populated by 4,000 residents 

A man operates a personal watercraft in a playfield flooded by water from the Skagit River, Monday in Sedro-Woolley, Washington

Two sisters walk through floodwater from their uncle’s home Monday, in Sedro-Woolley, Washington. The heavy rainfall of recent days brought major flooding of the Skagit River.

A man steps from flood water surrounding his parents home Monday, in Sedro-Woolley, Washington. Residents in the area will hope that the Skagit and Samish rivers won’t reach overflowing levels like they did in 2009, causing damages to local homes and farms

Later Monday, Governor Jay Inslee declared a severe weather state of emergency in 14 counties in Western Washington and said that the state Emergency Management Division, with support from the Washington National Guard, would coordinate assistance. 

A state of emergency for the town of Hamilton also was declared Sunday. People there, about 80 miles northeast of Seattle, were urged to evacuate.  

Cars and trailers were packed into the parking lot outside the Red Cross evacuation site at Hamilton Baptist Church on Monday, where dozens waited out the storm, the Skagit Valley Herald reported. 

Skagit County officials were comparing this flood to severe flooding in 2009, when the Skagit and Samish rivers overflowed and caused damage to homes, farms and infrastructure. 

As the water made its way down the Skagit River, people were warned to expect flooding in Sedro-Woolley, Burlington and Mount Vernon. City officials in Mount Vernon on Monday afternoon recommended people living west of the Division Street Bridge evacuate because of the threat of potential significant flooding overnight. 

Just south of the Canadian border in Sumas, Washington, officials said city hall was flooded and that the area had not seen such flooding since 1990.

‘At this point in time there is no reasonably safe way to drive to Bellingham without putting yourself or others at risk. Please do not drive through standing or rushing water,’ the city’s police department said via Twitter. 

Two men stand in the flooded Skagit River and look across at an RV, Monday, in Sedro-Woolley, Washington

State troopers respond to a mudslide and tree in Whatcom County blocking the road. Three vehicles were involved but no injuries were reported

A man, left, leads his two daughters through floodwater from their uncle’s home Monday, in Sedro-Woolley, Washington, as the precipitation levels in the area rise 

In this photo provided by the Washington State Department of Transportation, a rock and mudslide briefly closed a portion of Interstate 5 through Bellingham, Washington on Monday. There was widespread flooding in the area as storms continued in the Pacific Northwest

North and South I-5 in Bellingham closed overnight for flooding and active slides. The city saw record rainfall on Sunday, with 2.78 inches in one day. The previous record was .88 inches in one day, in 1998

Here is a look at one of the three slides along US 101 near milepost 186 in Clallam County. Local police are urging residents to not go beyond the road closures while crews from the state’s department of transportation are actively clearing debris

Nicole Postma, who owns a coffee stand in Sumas and is president of the Sumas Chamber of Commerce, told The Bellingham Herald Monday that people are nervous. 

‘We knew that the flood was imminent, but had no idea it would be like this,’ she said.

Southwest of Sumas, deputies using a Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office rescue vehicle were evacuating stranded residents in the Everson area, officials said on Twitter.

Bellingham, about 90 miles north of Seattle along I-5, experienced record rainfall Sunday with a one-day total of 2.78 inches, crushing the prior daily record from 1998 at 0.88 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

All schools in the Bellingham district and nearby districts were closed Monday because of dangerous travel conditions. Mudslides closed part of Interstate 5 just south of Bellingham Monday afternoon with three cars stuck in the debris.

No one was seriously injured and the interstate was closed in both directions overnight because of flooding and active slides, state Trooper Rocky Oliphant said on Twitter.

Caylon Coomes of Bellingham drove his truck and paddleboard from his home near Lake Whatcom earlier on Monday to some flooded city streets near the interstate.

‘It looked pretty good out there (by the lake) but the street looks a little bit better,’ he said. He met another man in a parking lot and donning wetsuits they waded into the water and paddled away past vehicles stuck in the floodwaters.

Locals walk up to a roadway flooded and closed from the overflowing Skagit River on Monday

Two men prepare to paddleboard in floodwaters on city streets in Bellingham, Washington, on Monday. Widespread flooding in the Pacific Northwest amid days of heavy rainfall caused people to evacuate their homes, stranded drivers, and closed businesses, roads and schools

All schools in the Bellingham district and nearby districts closed Monday due to dangerous travel conditions (pictured), as cars struggled on flooded roads

A barn sits surrounded by the Skagit River floodwaters on Monday, in Sedro-Woolley, Washington. The Skagit River in Washington, close to the Canadian border, might see its highest level in 115 years, The Weather Channel reported

Across the state, several highways were closed, including US 101, State Route 112, SR 110 and SR 113, at different mile markers and the U.S. Coast Guard helped local authorities evacuate an estimated 500 people from Whatcom County.

In another accident caused by extreme weather on Monday, a semi tipped in heavy winds on Deception Pass bridge and was leaning on the railing, state troopers said. The driver was able to get out, according to the state patrol.

Emergency officials warned that people should expect to see water in low-lying roadways until Friday and should turn around rather than drive through water on the road. That water can be moving swiftly and be deeper than it seems, posing serious risk to people in vehicles.

An road view shows the damage caused by floods and landslide near Bellingham, Washington. A part of Interstate 5, shown here, is inaccessible due to a massive tree fall

A motorist pushes his car off the roadway after the engine stopped while driving through water over the roadway on Highway 20, Monday, near Hamilton, Washington

A man operates a personal watercraft in view of a home cut off by rising water from the Skagit River in Sedro-Woolley, Washington

Meanwhile, Canadian helicopters on Monday rescued hundreds trapped in their vehicles on a highway after landslides in the western province of British Columbia.

The rainstorms that started on Sunday triggered the landslides, shutting roads, prompting the evacuation of an entire town. They forced an oil pipeline to close and delayed flights.

About 275 people including 50 children were stranded in more than 100 vehicles on a highway near the mountain town of Agassiz, about 75 miles east of Vancouver, which prompted evacuation flights.

Video footage showed Canadian Forces Cormorant helicopters ferrying evacuees to safety.

An aerial view shows a broken bridge as a flood sweeps through, near Coquihalla, British Columbia, Canada. Part of Highway 5 is pictured here

Emergency services personnel wade through floodwaters along a damaged road in Malahat, British Columbia, Canada

Flood warnings and watches were issued on rivers and streams for areas from Merritt south to the border with the United States, the lower Fraser region and sections of southern Vancouver Island 

Search and rescue personnel help flood evacuees disembark from a helicopter in Agassiz, British Columbia

Floodwaters flow along a damaged road in Malahat, British Columbia, Canada

Nearly 300 people were trapped overnight in their vehicles by mudslides on a highway in British Columbia were being flown to safety by helicopters Monday 

Authorities in Merritt, about 140 miles northeast of Vancouver, ordered all 8,000 citizens to leave after rising waters cut off bridges and forced the wastewater treatment plant to close.

It warned residents not to use water from faucets or flush their toilets.

‘Continued habitation of the community without sanitary services presents risk of mass sewage back-up and personal health risk,’ the city said in an official notice.

Some areas received 8 inches of rain on Sunday – the amount they usually see in a month – and the deluge continued on Monday, with roads covered by mud or up to 10 inches of water.

The landslides and floods come less than six months after a wild fire gutted the entire town of Lytton, as temperatures in the province soared.

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