US Marine and Naval personnel who responded to a tragic vehicle incident in Japan on Saturday are now being recognized for their efforts in saving two lives.
The incident took place after a vehicle backed over a parking stone on the fifth story of a parking garage, crashing through a fence and into a street across from Yokosuka Naval Base. In addition to the three adult occupants of the vehicle being killed, two boys sustained serious injuries.
One sailor and four Marines took the initiative to save the survivors of the vehicle, with the four Marines documenting their accounts in a statement obtained by USMC Life.
Lance Corporals Raheem Gilliam, Manaure Arellano, James Flores II and Private First Class Jacob Boerner joined Petty Officer 1st Class Garrett Osborne and Commisaryman Petty Officer 2nd Class Derhon Finch of the USS McCampbell in assisting the rescue of the trapped youth.
“At the scene of the accident. I saw a boy halfway out of the vehicle [and] unconscious,“ Boerner said. “Once we realized there [were] more people still inside the vehicle, we tried to pull the doors off with our hands and a crowbar.”
Realizing that the crowbar wouldn’t do the trick, LCPL Flores suggested they flip the vehicle over.
“With the help of Navy personnel and Japanese citizens we lifted the car up halfway and immediately saw easy access for one of the males to get out,” Boerner recounted.
Flores and Boerner gently pulled the boy from the vehicle, resting his head on a pillow. Upon successful evacuation of one survivor, the Marines headed back to continue extricating the others. Soon, Japanese locals flooded from local shops to help fully flip the car.
“Once we fully flipped the car two males took out a boy from the back seat of the car…at that point the ambulance had come and aided the boy,” Arellano noted.
However, not everyone survived.
“Boerner grabbed the girl,” Arellano said, possibly referring to 46-year-old Akiko Kagejima. “We placed her on the ground with a pillow under her head. I quickly checked for a pulse but she was dead.“
After emergency services arrived, a Navy officer reportedly noticed they were covered in blood, escorting them to the base Emergency Room to be decontaminated and checked for injuries.
The Marines and Corpsmen are being recognized by the Yokosuka Mayor with an award at City Hall for responding to the accident in the next coming days.
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