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L.A. County Firefighters Make Weekend Rescues In Haiti

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Mon, Jan 18, 2010 at 12:55 PM

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The Los Angeles County Fire Department's Urban Search and Rescue task force in Haiti rescued at least five women over the weekend in Haiti. The the saves, which upped the team's total rescues in the earthquake-devastated nation to nine, have put the unit "in high spirits," according to Inspector Matt Levesque and a department statement.

It was a bittersweet weekend: On Saturday a division of the task force, along with CNN's Anderson Cooper, were flagged down by a woman who said her 10-year-old daughter, Laika, had been trapped beneath the rubble of a daycare center. As CNN cameras broadcasted the rescue attempt live, L.A. county rescuers used three dogs and a sensitive listening device in attempts to locate and free the girl. Tapping was reportedly heard, but it stopped, and after eight hours of trying the crews pulled out.

The latest rescue in Port-au-Prince was reported 7 a.m. eastern time as a "31-year-old victim was found pinned to her mattress, beneath her apartment complex, with minimal initial apparent injuries" following an overnight marathon operations to save her, the department reported.

Two sisters, 19 and 20, were rescued there Sunday. On Saturday a 30-year-old trapped from the waist down in rubble was freed by county crews. And, the same day, a 50-year-old was pulled relatively unharmed from a collapsed bank.

The 72-member county task force is also known as USA-2 and is being funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Arriving on Thursday, it was one of the first American urban search and rescue squads in Haiti following Tuesday's disasterous 7.0 earthquake.

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