Surveillance footage has captured the moment American soldiers rescued a three-year-old girl and airlifted her to safety as Tropical Storm Eta wrought havoc in Central America.
The US Army sent military personnel to support rescue efforts in Honduras and Panama after Hurricane Eta slammed into the region last week, leaving scores of people dead and hundreds missing in Mexico and Central America.
Video shot in Honduras showed a soldier holding onto the small child as they were airlifted from the city of Lima into the Blackhawk helicopter on Friday.
The rest of the girl’s family were then airlifted into the helicopter and taken to a safe place away from the city.
Storm Eta initially hit Nicaragua as a Category 4 hurricane on 3 November, with 150mph winds. It caused the deaths of 20 people in Mexico, 21 in Honduras, two in Costa Rica and two in Nicaragua.
Days of torrential rain led to extreme flooding and multiple landslides across many areas. In Mexico, 10 people were swept away by a swollen stream in the mountain town of Chenalho and their bodies were later found downstream.
In the neighbouring state of Tabasco, flooding became so severe that President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador cut a trip to western Mexico short to oversee relief efforts.
In Guatemala on Thursday, a landslide destroyed 150 homes in San Cristobal Verapaz.
Queen Elizabeth on Monday offered her condolences to people in Mexico and Central America affected by the “tragic loss of life and destruction”.
In a message to leaders in the region, the queen said: “Prince Philip and I were deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have been injured or lost their lives, and all those whose homes and livelihoods have been affected.”
The storm weakened into a tropical depression at the end of last week, but was expected to strengthen again into a hurricane as it headed towards the Florida Keys.
The US National Hurricane Centre in Miami issued hurricane and storm surge warnings for the Keys from Ocean Reef to the Dry Tortugas, including Florida Bay.
It unleashed a deluge of rain that flooded entire neighbourhoods in South Florida on Monday before moving into the Gulf of Mexico.
Forecasters said it was now lingering north of the Yucatan Channel between Cuba and Mexico, but are unsure where or when it might make landfall again.
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