A 57-member task force of Los Angeles County firefighters helped rescue a teenage boy found buried in rubble in Nepal several days after a magnitude-7.8 earthquake devastated the Himalayan nation, killing at least 5,500 people.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department’s California Task Force 2 — known internationally as USA-2 Medium Search and Rescue Team and headquartered in the San Fernando Valley — took off for Nepal around 11:25 p.m. Sunday from March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County and arrived in Nepal on Tuesday.

USA-2 then began working along with a counterpart team from Fairfax County, Virginia, that is known as USA-1, said Los Angeles County fire Inspector Chris Reade.

On Wednesday, USA-1 team members heard voices in a rubble pile, and asked USA-2 personnel to assist, Reade said.

USA-2 members used a specialized camera system to find the teen, and emergency crews “slowly and methodically” brought him to safety, Reade said. The boy’s condition was not immediately known, Reade said, noting that communication in the remote area is very difficult.

Rescuers were continuing their efforts to locate any other possible survivors, Reade said.

Scores of people, including Santa Monica-based documentary filmmaker Tom Taplin, were killed in the earthquake, which struck just before noon local time Saturday — just before 11:15 p.m. Friday, California time.

USA-2 was notified Saturday by the United States Agency for International Development to gather its personnel and equipment and prepare for deployment.

Each member of the team has a specific area of expertise, including doctors, structure collapse experts, engineering specialists and dog handlers, but the majority are firefighter-paramedics.

City News Service

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