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Seabees Rescue Family from Car Crash

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Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 3 and the 31st Seabee Readiness Group (SRG) helped to rescue a family involved in a car wreck on Highway 101 in Buellton, Calif., Jan. 12.

Equipment Operator 1st Class (SCW) Frankie Cruz, Construction Mechanic 2nd Class (SCW) Michael McCracken, and Equipment Operator Constructionman Clinton Roberts of NMCB 3 along with Construction Mechanic 2nd Class (SCW) Shawn Legg, Construction Mechanic 2nd Class (SCW) Benjamin Mead, and Construction Mechanic 3rd Class (SCW) James Winters from the 31SRG helped to rescue the family of the wrecked vehicle by operating a forklift to keep the car from sliding off the bridge while rescue crews extracted the family of three.

"As the fire department was cutting the car to get the family out, it kept on slipping over the bridge and faced a 100 foot fall," said McCracken, the forklift operator. "I talked to the fire captain in charge and he was excited to hear that we had an extendable-boom forklift just 200 to 300 feet behind the wreck and he said to go get it."

"They [the Seabees] came up, they all got out and wanted to know if they could help maybe with traffic or something else", said Officer Danny Maher, California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer. "They had a large forklift with them, and we were able to obtain and have them use so they could support the BMW as it was teetering on the side of the bridge; they supported the BMW so the fire department could get in and extricate the parties."

The forklift was being transported back from Fort Hunter Liggett where NMCB 3 had finished a pre-deployment certification exercise in mid-December. The Seabees off-loaded the forklift to stabilize the car so rescue crews could use the Jaws of Life to extract the mother and her two young children.

"The mom and two children are all alive, and we had a hand in it," said McCracken. "That is the biggest thing that I got out of it."

Maher said the family can thank the quick work of U.S. Navy Seabees who were traveling back to their base at Port Hueneme when they came upon the accident.

"We were just in the right place at the right time," said McCracken.

NMCB 3 is an expeditionary element of U.S. naval forces providing construction, engineering and security services in support of national strategy, naval power projection, humanitarian assistance and contingency operations.

Article by Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SCW/SW/AW) Jesse A. Sherwin III, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 3 Public Affairs