Volunteer pilots transport patients and medical staff stranded by Montecito mudslides

MONTECITO, Calif. (KABC) -- In the aftermath of the devastating Thomas Fire and subsequent mudslides in Montecito, a group of volunteer pilots have been donating their time to transport first-responders, doctors and patients in the area.

The mission of mercy's popularity has only grown through social media.

Joanne Vega, a cancer patient, was in a panic because the massive debris flow area stood between her and her scheduled radiation therapy. She was able to arrive at her appointment because Jeff Moorhouse, a financial planner and licensed pilot, offered to give her a ride.

Moorhouse learned of the need for pilots through an online grassroots website, thomasfirehelp.org. The site was originally set up for victims of the destructive wildfire, but when organizers saw the need for airlifts last week they put out the word.

"Now it's a couple days later and we have over 50 volunteer pilots, including one helicopter, and we're moving people," said Emily Barany.

Moorhouse described one his recent trips, in which he delivered blood to San Luis Obispo.

"Otherwise it would have been a six-hour trip to get the blood up there," he said.

Organizers say they could use more help, including drivers, translators and tech people.
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