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L.A. County search and rescue team back from Japan

March 19, 2011 |  5:27 pm

Members of the Los Angeles County Fire Department's Urban Search and Rescue team returned Saturday afternoon from a nine-day deployment in Japan, fire officials said.

California Task Force 2, an elite, 74-member team comprised of several emergency responders, was deployed March 12 to assist  with rescue and recovery efforts in Japan afer the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami. The quake was the worst to hit the country in 140 years and the fifth largest recorded in the world since 1900.

Fire Chief Daryl L. Osby said the squad spent six days searching for victims in the Ofunato and Kamaishi city areas. This was the team's third deployment to a foreign country devastated by a large quake.

The team also has been to Haiti and New Zealand in recent months after quakes there.  It was dispatched to Japan less than 24 hours after returning from its mission in New Zealand.    

Fire officials said members will be reunited with their families at the Los Angeles County Fire Department's Urban Search and Rescue facility in Pacoima.

--Ruben Vives