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March 26, 2014 at 5:35 PM

Slide victim Robin Youngblood thanks her rescuer

Robin Youngblood, right, on Wednesday embraces search-and-rescue helicopter volunteer Randy Fay, who helped rescue her from Saturday's massive mudslide.  Youngblood was home when the slide hit, moving her house a quarter-mile.   (Photo by Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press)

Robin Youngblood, right, on Wednesday embraces search-and-rescue helicopter volunteer Randy Fay, who helped rescue her from Saturday’s massive mudslide. Youngblood was home when the slide hit, moving her house a quarter-mile. (Photo by Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press)

Randy Fay will never forget seeing two women on a floating piece of a roof, where on Saturday he rescued Robin Youngblood and her friend, Jetty Dooper, from the Oso mudslide.

They were covered in mud and shivering. Fay, an EMT, fastened them into a basket to be lifted by helicopter, then went back for a painting of a Cherokee warrior.

“She asked if I could save that. We got them up and grabbed that picture and gave that to her. That’s all she had left,” Fay said.

He saved a 4-year-old boy who was sinking chest deep in the mud, as were two nearby men trying to reach the boy.

Just as Fay finished retelling the story to a group of reporters Wednesday, Youngblood, 63, arrived to thank him for saving her life. They hugged and their eyes teared a bit.

She recalled that when Fay was lowered to her by the helicopter, the rescuers did everything perfectly to save and calm her. “I was just saying ‘Thank you Creator,’ ” she said.

Youngblood later said her son-in-law, Kane Conner, was denied access to search the remains of the house on Steelhead Drive, to look for keepsakes from their Native American ancestry. She said her great grandmother, a Cherokee, was one of the first residents of the Oso area in the early 1900s.

“I had her sacred regalia, her pipes,” Youngblood said. “We weren’t able to go back in.”

Comments | More in General news | Topics: mudslide, Oso mudslide, rescue


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