Air Force

August 8, 2014

Nellis Airmen save elderly couple during flash flood

Tags:
Staff Sgt. Siuta B. Ika
99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Left to right: Tech Sgt. Adam Dixon, Staff Sgt. James Maxwell and Airman 1st Class Christopher Fitzgerald, all members of the 820th RED HORSE, pose for a photo Aug. 5 in front of the spot where the three Airmen, assisted by three members of the 799th Air Base Squadron, saved an elderly couple who were trapped in their car during a flash flood Aug. 4, on U.S. Route 95 north of Las Vegas, Nev. The Airmen were on their way home from their work sites at Creech Air Force Base when they saw the couple’s car stuck in the median, and took swift action before the flood carried the car away.

LAS VEGAS – Three Airmen from the 820th RED HORSE, assisted by three members of the 799th Air Base Squadron, saved an elderly couple during a flash flood Aug. 4 while they were on their way home from their work sites at Creech Air Force Base.

Tech. Sgt. Adam Dixon, the first 820th RED HORSE responder, was one of the first ones to see the couple’s Toyota Prius stuck in the median after they attempted to evade the rapidly rising water by crossing over U.S. Route 95, north of Las Vegas

“The water was flowing over the shoulder and cutting across the road, so people were backing up and crossing the median – which was actually lower than the interstate – so at that point we started seeing cars get stuck in the mud,” Dixon said. “Me and [Airmen 1st Class Joshua Parnell and Christopher Jones from the 799th ABS] first tried to push their car out of the mud, but it wasn’t budging. Within seconds the water went from being at boot level to waist level, so I knew we just needed to get them out of there at that point.”

As the water level picked up, so did the current’s force, which made opening and holding the car door for the elderly couple to escape extremely difficult.

“That’s when I saw Sergeant Dixon on the driver’s side yelling for them to get out, so I ran to that side to help him hold the door open,” said Staff Sgt. James Maxwell, the second 820th RED HORSE responder. “It was pretty intense because we could see another car floating towards us and we didn’t want to get pinned by it, so I know we were both pushing as hard as we could on that door.”

After getting the door open, the elderly man quickly exited the vehicle, but with each passing second the current grew even stronger and the man’s wife needed additional assistance exiting the vehicle.

“Sergeant Dixon got her close to me and I grabbed her and carried her up to higher ground,” said Airman 1st Class Christopher Fitzgerald, the third 820th RED HORSE responder. “It all happened so fast that I didn’t really think – it was just all reaction.”

After the elderly couple was safe on the embankment of the median, one rescuer that had been assisting the three RED HORSE members was swept away by the current, but was grabbed and pulled out of the water by Jones, as Parnell and Staff Sgt. Tye Warner, also with the 799th ABS, repositioned cars on the highway so that they would not be caught and swept into the median.

“I just saw an arm and a head flying down the water and was like, ‘I’m going to pull them out and hope I don’t fall in,’” Jones said. “It was the right thing to do.”

If the rescue took even a few more seconds, Dixon said the results could have been gravely different.

“Right after the couple got out, the car floated down the median, and seconds after that we saw it upside down,” Dixon said. “I’m just happy they were both okay, and I’d think that even if we weren’t there, somebody else would have gotten them out of there.”

The 820th RED HORSE commander, Col. Aaron Young, praised the rescuers for their efforts.

“I’m very proud of their heroic actions,” Young said. “They were in the right place at the right time and took swift, life-saving action. They are but a few of our many great American Airmen who demonstrate extraordinary instinct and initiative in times of need. It is an honor and privilege to lead and serve with Airmen like them.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joshua Kleinholz

31st TES F-35s take on Green Flag 15-08

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joshua Kleinholz Tactical air control party members from the 7th Air Support Operations Squadron, Fort Bliss, Texas, monitor radios from a defensive fighting position while AH-64D Apache he...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Susan Garcia

USAF Weapons School JTAC graduates to receive hallowed patches

U.S. Air Force photo by Susan Garcia Master Sgt. Jared Pietras, left, U.S. Air Force Weapons School Joint Terminal Attack Controller Advanced Instructor Course instructor, and Tech. Sgt. James Larsen, JTAC AIC student, pass tar...
 
 

Leaders: Good, bad, forgotten

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas — It’s been my Air Force experience there are three categories of leaders — the good, bad, and the forgotten.Everyone reading this probably thinks they’re in the first category, but we know that’s not the case. Airmen who work for you certainly wish that were true, but not every leader’s...
 

 

Are you ready to transition out of your uniform?

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. — Leaving the military is not as simple as staying home the day after your service commitment is up. Almost 23 years ago, after a summer vacation that lasted less than 48 hours, I showed up in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with about 1,000 of my new closest friends. Fast forward...
 
 
561st-Patch

561st JTS enhances warfighter TTPs

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Nellis AFB is home to many groups and squadrons with important mission capabilities that make the U.S. Air Force the most flexible and capable force possible. The 561st Joint tactics Squadron is ...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jake Carter

Airman’s Attic provides free items, goods

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jake Carter Patrons at the Airman’s Attic look through the store’s inventory on Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., June 18. The Airman’s Attic is a volunteer-based organization where Air...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>