As the death toll rises from the horrific mudslide that destroyed a neighborhood in Washington State, one dramatic rescue by helicopter is giving light and hope to a bleak scene. A 4-year-old boy was pulled from mud that had trapped his family. Jacob Spillers was sedate as rescuers pulled him free. Volunteer pilot for the Snohomish County Helicopter Rescue Team Ed Hrivnak says, "He didn't cry. He didn't move. He just stood there and was a very composed little man."
Sadly, Jacob's father and three half-siblings are still missing. Jacob was at home with his family, in an upstairs room of the house, when the mudslide hit. His mother, who was away at work at the time of the disaster, is alive and well. And she's probably incredibly thankful to have her son back.
Rescuers say Jacob was found "out in the middle of nowhere," far from any houses. Randy Fay, a helicopter rescue team coordinator, describes the mud holding Jacob captive as "a mushy slurry [that] once you got into it, there was no way to push yourself up." The rescue helicopter couldn't land because of the uneven ground -- it hovered above. Video from the helicopter was able to capture Jacob's rescue.
I'm not surprised that Jacob was so calm. I've seen children get like that during times of crisis. They seem to know it's a time to conserve your energy and let the grownups take over so you can survive. Still, Jacob was very brave and trusting.
I hope the rest of his family is found, but with each passing day, hope is fading for finding the missing. Still, almost a week later, around 90 people are still unaccounted for. That doesn't necessarily mean 90 people are trapped. We hope at least the trapped people who are holding onto life are found soon.
How would you feel right now if you were Jacob's mother?
Image via CNN