MONTECITO, Calif. - As the mudslides began two weeks ago, emergency responders were there on the ground, and in the air, saving countless lives. That includes helicopter crews with the Santa Barbara County Air Support Unit.
Members of the small team that works with both local fire and law enforcement departments were some of the very first on scene as the mudslides tore through Montecito.
Pilot Matt Edkow and his 3-person team flew into dangerous conditions the morning of the storm, saving six lives, including several people trapped on rooftops. His crew fought rain, mud, 70 mile per hour winds, and near zero visibility.
The former Navy and Coast Guard pilot calls the rescues that day some of the most challenging of his career.
"We're here to serve the men and women on the ground, and those guys did an excellent job rescuing and recovering people so it was an honor to be a part of it," says Edkow. I hope I never have to see something like this again."
Besides search and rescue, the Santa Barbara County Air Support Unit also helps track down fugitives and serve high risk warrants.