Rescue Teams Reach Mountainous Area in Haiti for First Time Wednesday

NBC Universal, Inc.

Haiti was hit with an aftershock today that caused more damage in Southwestern Haiti just days after a deadly earthquake claimed the lives of more than 1,900 people.

NBC 6 went to a village Wednesday that received help for the first time. The village is up in mountains and until now the weather prevented rescue crews getting there. 

For one woman who lives in rural Haiti, you could see the relief on her face that someone came to heal the pain.  

Wearing a makeshift sling to hold her broken arm, she leaned on her guardian angel—Coast Guard Crew Chief Savanna Brewer.  She joined the Coast Guard out of high school in Alabama and now, seven years later, she is managing the back of the Coast Guard helicopter along with rescue swimmer Stu McConnell—the Coast Guard’s version of Superman.

“I thought about my grandma a lot. I thought about my mom a lot. And just if this was my mom, if this was my grandmother they’d be doing the same thing. They would want that comfort—that security, “ Brewer said.

Pilots LCDR Jason Maddox and Lt. Aaron Black placed the helicopter down into a field near the mountains.  

These flights are the only way to get to many areas struck my the 7.2 magnitude earthquake Saturday, and Wednesday afternoon’s aftershock measuring 3.2 on the Richter scale that tumbled more homes.

Gerald Moise lives nearby and he told NBC 6, “for the past four days, there has been no one here to help. There are a lot of people hurt.”

If they could walk to the helicopter, they did. A young boy could not walk and with an injured back had to be carried and was strapped face down to the board.

Aircraft commander Jason Maddox is a long way from Washington where he grew up. He told NBC 6 “one of the first things I told my wife when I spoke to her after our first day here was to look around and be grateful for what we have. It's easy to look past that and forget. It's an honor to be part of this response.”

Onboard the flight, there was a man next to me with internal injuries who we had to keep awake during the ride to make sure he was okay.  Among the passengers was shirtless man who had been bandaged, the little boy, and the grandmother.

After landing, they were all are passed onto the Haitian medical teams and doctors from South Florida and other volunteers.  

“They don’t know us. We’re strangers to them and they maybe have never been in a helicopter before," Brewer said. "So what’s normal to us is a very new and scary thing to them and any chance to give them that comfort we just like embrace these people. They have been through so much already.”

Even though is just for a short time, there is a connection between the person being rescued and those coming in to help them—something we witnessed Wednesday. 

Contact Us