MALIBU—On Tuesday, July 7, three Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Malibu Search and Rescue Team members were awarded for their heroism.
They received acknowledgement from the Mountain Rescue Association. The Association is the oldest Search and Rescue organization in the United States, originally founded in 1959. It is also often considered one of the most prestigious rescue organizations.
The Malibu Search and Rescue Team members were awarded the Conspicuous Heroism award. The organization defines this award category as: “Above and beyond the normal demands of duty, performed displaying extreme courage while consciously facing imminent peril. Shall not have violated reasonable safety standards.”
The three members are volunteer rescuers, one is a doctor and the other two are lawyers. They were honored for their performances during a rescue in March 2014, in which they saved four trapped hikers.
During the 2014 rescue, four hikers from Long Beach became trapped on a rock in a rushing river at Malibu Creek State Park. The hikers got stuck after a downpour, and got caught in the river as the water around them rose. One of them placed a call to officials for help at around 6:45 p.m. For nine hours. the hikers waited for the rescue team, who arrived at around 3:15 a.m. the next morning. All four hikers were rescued without injuries.
The rescue was a multi-agency mission. Due to the harsh weather conditions, rescue personnel and the hikers were at risk of hypothermia and could not see because of the extreme darkness. Officials contacted many rescue agencies in hopes of getting a helicopter for back up, however many flights were grounded due to the immense fog. The Los Angeles County Fire Department and the U.S. Coast Guard could not fly. A Ventura County Sheriff’s helicopter was brought in to airlift the hikers out of danger.