L.A. County search-and-rescue team to return from Haiti today
After saving nine lives during a two-week deployment to help earthquake victims in Haiti, an urban search-and-rescue team from Los Angeles is set to land back in Southern California this evening.
The 72-member team, which included doctors, structural engineers, firefighters, communications specialists and six search-and-rescue dogs, was expected to arrive at the L.A. County Fire Department station in Pacoima about 6:30 p.m., said Inspector Frederic Stowers.
"They were doing 'round-the-clock search-and-rescue missions," Stowers said.
In one of its rescue efforts, a crowd of Haitians applauded and chanted "USA! USA!" as team members carried a victim to safety.
The L.A. team's mission was coordinated by the U.S. Agency for International Development to provide aid to victims of the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that hit the impoverished Caribbean island nation Jan. 12.
The team will be greeted this evening by their families and fire safety officials, Stowers said. It had last been partially deployed to New Orleans to help Hurricane Katrina victims.
-- Amina Khan
Photo: L.A. County Fire Department urban search-and-rescue team members prepare Jan. 12 for deployment to Haiti. Credit: Mike Meadows / Associated Press