Urban rescue team returns to NYC from Haiti

January 24, 2010 4:15:18 PM PST
After a busy and extremely emotional week-long deployment in Haiti, 80 members of New York City's "Federal Emergency Task Force One" team and their dogs landed at Kennedy Airport early Sunday morning. The joint NYPD and FDNY crew successfully rescued six people from collapsed buildings in Port-au-Prince.

One night, the team had already gone to base camp, but rushed back when they heard about some trapped kids.

An 8-year-old boy was pulled by the team from the rubble, and thanked his rescuers with one big hug.

The rescue team also saved a little girl buried in the same massive pile of rubble.

Earlier that same evening, the team made a grim discovery, the bodies of three other children were recovered from the site.

"When our rescue team got there, they were able to, using search cams, actually see the individuals," explained Deputy Inspector Robert Lukach, who worked as a team leader in Haiti.

"The devastation is unimaginable," said FDNY Battalion Chief Joe Downey. "For a small country they lost like 65 percent of their people, and possibly 80 percent of their homes. There were these towns we went to, there was nothing, nothing left."

The task force arrived in Haiti completely self-reliant. They brought their own shelter, food and equipment.