USAF airmen among first responders to deadly accident - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

USAF airmen among first responders to deadly accident

Airmen from the 48th Rescue Squadron at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base Airmen from the 48th Rescue Squadron at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base
ELOY, AZ (CBS5) -

It's only fitting that a group of airmen from the 48th Rescue Squadron at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base were among the first on the scene to Tuesday's deadly accident on Interstate 10 near Picacho Peak.

"I came up to the very first police officer we found and asked if they needed our assistance and he said yes, absolutely.  And we went to work," said Lucas, 48th Rescue Squadron Staff Sergeant.

The group had just completed training at the Eloy airport and were headed back to Tucson when they encountered the dust storm and the accident.

"We noticed that several people were trapped in their vehicles. For some, it was just a positioning issue, for others the vehicle was on its side and they were obviously going to require assistance to get out. So we kind of took charge of our little area, started identifying patients, triaging patients, identified who needed extrication and what kind of tools were going to be required," Lucas said.

And being a group of rescue specialists, they happened to have many of the needed tools on hand that day.

"We have our a-b-c's - airway, bleeding, and circulation. Inside our bag are things to control hemorrhaging and bleeding, that sort of thing. We also have splinting material, hand splints, c-collars, that type of stuff and definitive care," said 48th Rescue Squadron combat rescue officer Caleb.

The men tell us that the first reaction among some of the injured, was that of relief.

"A lot of times all it takes is a calm voice saying, 'hey, can you move your feet?' Yeah. 'Can you stand up?' Yeah.  All right, let's get you out of here then," said Lucas.

The airmen say it's their job and their duty to help save lives, regardless of the situation.

"It was a good feeling to me and my team that we were able to help the local people, so it was great," said Caleb.

"I was just happy to be there for the people that needed the help, that's originally why I joined the job, to help people," said 48th Rescue Squadron pararescueman Dan.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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