MONTECITO, CA (WCMH) – The California Highway Patrol has released dash cam video showing the terrifying first moments of a deadly California mudslide.
On Jan. 9, the city of Montecito was hit by debris-laden flash floods when downpours from a storm hit mountain slopes already devastated by a huge wildfire. The storm caused mudslides in the area, killing 21 people and destroying hundreds of home.
The newly released dash cam video shows the moments a CHP patrol car was swept away by the mudslide. The officers were briefed about potential mudslides before the incident, but they were called out to a report of an explosion in structure fire around 3:30am. That’s when the car got caught in the flow of mud and debris coming down from the Montecito hills.
“They had no idea that hillside was coming down on Olive Mill there,” CHP Captain Cindy Pontes told KEYT.
Luckily, one of the officers was able to regain control of the vehicle before radioing CHP to shut the highway down.
“There is a very active mudslide coming down Olive Mill towards the 101 right now,” an officer said over the radio. “It overtook our vehicle and we were barely able to escape and we are down by the freeway right now, but there is a lot of debris and a lot of flow coming down.”
The video also shows the officers instructing a citizen standing on the roadside to “get out of here!”
Pontes she is proud of the officers.
“They are absolutely heroes in this, and they saved many lives,” she said.