1955- A Coast Guard helicopter was the first rescue unit to reach a flood disaster scene in northern California. Its crew hoisted 138 persons to safety within 12 hours. The first 58 were made possible because of the light from a small handheld searchlight from positions of peril among chimneys, television antennas, and trees. In all, the Coast Guard assisted Federal, state, and local agencies in saving over 500 persons by helicopters and boats.
(Source: USCG Historian’s Office)