Moody airmen rescue eight at sea - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Moody airmen rescue eight at sea

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April 29, 2008

Moody Air Force Base - "These things we do, that others may live."  It's the motto of the airmen at Moody Air Force Base and we have some amazing footage of the airmen doing just that.

A team of airmen were called to rescue 12 refugees that had been stranded at sea for nearly two weeks.

The condition of those migrants were so critical that only eight made it back to land. But it would have been a lot worse if the airmen hadn't responded so quickly.

A tanker was 300 miles south of New Orleans in the Gulf of Mexico when it came upon a raft with 12 Cuban refugees.

They'd been stranded at sea for nearly two weeks without food and water; their situation so dire, they were drinking sea water and urine to stay hydrated.

By the time their raft was found, their condition wasn't much better.  "Severe dehydration, severe sunburns from the exposure to the sun as long as they'd been out there," says Captain Jason Chambers, an H-60 Pilot who participated in the mission.

The footage was taken from a C-130 from Moody Air Force Base. The coast guard called in the airmen because their training and equipment provided the best chance to get the refugees off the boat alive.

The C-130 circled above as para-rescuers hoisted the refugees to the helicopters above.

The airmen transferred six of the most critical refugees to a hospital in New Orleans, another two were brought in by the Coast Guard but the last four didn't make it.

If it weren't for the quick response of these airmen, that number would be much higher.  "I know they were dehydrated and the exposure was so severe that our guys who were the experts said we need to them there fast," says Capt. Chambers. 

In all the rescue mission took over ten hours. Hard work that the airmen know saved lives.

"We fly around here a lot, train and train hard and to go out and have all our training save lives, that's what we are here for," MSgt Jason Fisher, a C-130 Radio Operator.

But don't call them heroes. Because these airmen insist they were just doing their jobs.

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