Coast Guard comes home after helping with Harvey relief efforts - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Coast Guard comes home after helping with Harvey relief efforts

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

Coast Guard members returning to Savannah today after helping with Harvey efforts. 

Their arrival time was projected to be around 3 this afternoon. A temporary flight restriction due to President Trump's visit to Houston delayed their departure.

Our nation has been all hands on deck for relief efforts following Hurricane Harvey. Our Coast Guard here in Savannah - part of that.

They finally arrived at 7:30 p.m. and relief was on these men's faces when they finally stepped foot back in Savannah and shook the hands of their team here at home.

Seven pilots, six mechanics, and two swimmers assisted in the Houston, Texas area in the aftermath of Harvey. Crews flew rescue missions along the coast and also helped with flooded neighborhoods.

Happy to be back - but they say what they experienced in Houston - still vivid in their minds tonight.

"We actually flew through the storm to get there because the situation down there was deteriorated and they needed all the help they could get," said Josue Valentin, Coast Guard Mechanic.

For a week straight - their job - save as many lives as possible.

"It was just one after another. The calls just came. We literally would pick up one load of people - go - drop them off at a safe zone - and then go right back and take the next task," said Valentin.

A rescue swimmer says he will never forget one woman he saved.

"She did not want to leave anything behind. I told her ma'am - we don't have enough room in the helicopter for all this stuff. We have a lot of people to put in there with you. She broke down on me and started crying. She told me she lost her mother on Friday. I gave her a hug and told her everything is gonna be okay. I felt sorry for her. I said you know what? Keep both of your bags. I don't care," said Wesley Price, Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer.

What they saw - they will also never forget.

"It was devastating. There were houses completely underwater. Vans floating down what looked like rivers. Which were not rivers...they were roads," said Price.

The desolation that will stay with them forever.

"The scene coming up from the helicopter and seeing 15-20 aircrafts all around me - and water completely through a city - was something I will never forget," said Price.

Another aircraft carrying members of the Coast Guard was delayed. That's because of a temporary flight restriction due to President Trump's visit.
Coast Guard officials tell me those men will be home - safe and sound - by the end of the night.

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