Technology Playing Pivotal Role in Rescue Efforts - NBC 7 San Diego

Technology Playing Pivotal Role in Rescue Efforts

High tech and low tech efforts have mixed results in Haiti



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    Rescuers continue to use every means available to help them in their efforts.

    A CNN crew following a Los Angeles County Urban Search and Rescue squad says a text message from inside a collapsed bank led rescuers there early Sunday morning.

    Although search dogs have detected two survivors inside the Unibank Building in downtown Port-au-Prince, remote-control cameras and microphones have not yet led them to anyone.

    Six days after a major earthquake demolished Haiti, crews from Southern California have begun using sensitive microphones and heat-seeking devices to examine pancaked buildings in Port-au-Prince.

    Starting midday Saturday, an L.A. crew worked through the night to find children believed buried alive in a smashed day care center. "A mother had flagged them down, and told them her 10-year-old daughter was alive and had been heard, and that no one had done anything for four days," reported CNN anchor Anderson Cooper from the scene.

    Although distinct tapping from inside the nursery could be heard, the weak signs of life disappeared, and the L.A. crew gave up at 4 a.m. Haitian time on Sunday, CNN reported.

    The LA rescue workers "were taking this hard," Cooper said. "They came a long way, all the way from LA County, and they wanted as much as the mother standing with them there to find the little girl alive."

    Meanwhile, an Orange County urban search and rescue squad sits marooned for a third day today at a Riverside County air base, waiting for a military plane.

    Delays at the single-runway airport at Port-au-Prince are a choke point, and four urban rescue squads in the U.S. are sitting at airports, waiting to go, said task force leader Dave Phillips.

    He told the Orange County Register that his crew is frustrated, but spending the time on the tarmac at March Air Base near Moreno Valley training and reviewing procedures.

    "I think it's frustrating, because they're waiting to get in the game," Phillips told the Register.

    His frustration matches that of emergency workers from France and Brazil, who have been unable to get clearance to fly field hospitals and other critical gear to Haiti because of the clogged airport, according to the France 24 news agency.