OKINAWA, Japan – Earlier this month, residents across Japan were subjected to the strongest typhoon in the 2014 Western Pacific season to date.
Typhoon Neoguri brought winds with peak gusts up to 150 miles per hour, creating a huge storm surge and forced the Japan Meteorological Agency to issue a rare emergency warning, which is the highest warning level on their scale.
As a result, Kadena Air Base, which is operated by the U.S. Air Force, banned all outdoor activity.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to protect two airmen who became trapped inside a guard shack that began filling with water.
A1C Brandon Miles and A1C Roderick Jones were posted together in the ammunitions gate when they noticed flood water creeping toward their area.
However, the water quickly turned, surrounding the guard shack.
The airmen called for help but the roads were flooded.
Rescuers jumped over a fence into chest-high water and made their way to the guard shack, where the water was already above the door.
Firefighters arrived, but only had sledges and axes to work with.
Those tools work well with a lot of materials but are not very efficient when it comes to concrete.
They eventually found an electric saw, which broke after a few attempts at cutting into the shack.
Finally, the rescuers created a hole just big enough to get the airmen out.
“When we pulled Airmen Jones out, he was the last one out, he said his nose was touching the concrete roof of the building to get that last few inches of air out of the room,” said MSgt Aaron Duggins.
“If I hadn’t been going through it with him, I don’t know if I would’ve lived,” said Miles.