Water Rescue Strap

Water Rescue Strap

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Usage conditions apply
Water rescue teams from the United States Coast Guard used this harness to save many residents of New Orleans and other Louisiana parishes inundated by the flood waters of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. The harness or "strop" was lowered by motorized cable from a Coast Guard helicopter hovering overhead. A rescue swimmer would jump out of the helicopter into the water to help maneuver the strop around and under the victim's arms. Flood victims were also plucked off rooftops and out of trees using these strops. One consequence of Katrina's sudden and unexpected ferocity was the danger facing many people ill-equipped to escape the apparent safety of their homes.
Teams of helicopter rescuers made thousands of trips from air bases along the Gulf Coast in the search for survivors. Flying conditions over New Orleans in particular were hazardous in the days immediately following Katrina, as many police, military, and private services sought to use the suddenly clear skies to locate trapped victims.
For those who were rescued, one ordeal was quickly replaced by another longer ordeal of displacement, discovery of how much had been lost, and gradual recovery.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Water Rescue Harness
Associated Date
United States Coast Guard
United States: Louisiana
United States: Louisiana, New Orleans
overall: 41 in x 12 in x 4 1/2 in; 104.14 cm x 30.48 cm x 11.43 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Transfer from US Coast Guard
Hurricane Katrina
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Data Source
National Museum of American History
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