LAFD pilots speak out after dramatic Woolsey Fire rescue

- As the rain looms people are still talking about video of a dramatic rescue during the Woolsey Fire that went viral. That video showed LAFD pilots flying into danger and low on fuel to rescue people trapped by the flames.

FOX 11 spoke with those pilots.

Pilots Dave Nordquist and Joel Smith had the practiced nonchalance of first responders everywhere, making it seem that the emergencies they respond to are routine, when they most definitely are not.  

They were airborne in an LAFD chopper on day two of the Woolsey Fire, last Friday morning, dropping water, when they were diverted to a rescue call.  

For some reason, people, possibly hikers who wanted to see the fire, were trapped on ''Castro Peak,'' midway between the valley and Malibu.  

We watched go-pro video recorded on Nordquist's helmet mount, as they tried to find a safe place to land amidst the smoke and wind, getting low on fuel, talking about it via radio like they were parking a car in a supermarket lot.  

A woman, two men, and two large dogs were rescued perhaps five minutes before fire would have overcome them.  

Smith told FOX 11, as we spoke at the Van Nuys air operations base, ''I was glad we were in the right place at the right time to get that call.'' Nordquist said. ''It wasn't that bad... It looks impressive, but  take away the smoke and it wasn't that unusual it was a mountain approach into a tight area .'' 

Up Next:


  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories You May Be Interested In – includes Advertiser Stories