Coast Guard prepares for ‘second front of war’ as Hurricane Ian moves north

Coast Guard talks about rescue attempts in storm

Coast Guard Commander Talks Rescue Efforts and Challenges to Hurricane Ian


Coast Guard crews are busy at work as rescue missions continue after the destruction of Hurricane Ian. The powerful storm has brought catastrophic flooding, strong winds and storm surges to areas of Florida and was forecast in South Carolina on Friday.

“It’s a challenging mission, but our crews are well-trained and well-equipped for this,” Rear Admiral Brendan McPherson, commander of the Seventh Coast Guard District, told CBS Mornings on Friday. “I spoke to some crew members who went on those missions yesterday and they faced devastating conditions, you know, really unrecognizable terrain.”

He said 16 US Coast Guard planes have carried out rescue operations in areas of the sky where planes don’t normally fly. The agency rescued about 95 people on Thursday and was back to work on another day on Friday to look for more people in need.

“They’re going to areas where we can’t get to them any other way, not by boat or by land,” McPherson said. “But I’ll say the Coast Guard is part of a unified approach to this. It’s an all-hands-on-deck effort.”

Teams, he said, have “grided” the affected areas and are “methodically moving from box to box to clean up those areas to make sure people are safe.”

“Think of a military operation,” McPherson said.

In addition to conducting aerial rescues, the Coast Guard is also working to reopen ports that have been closed amid the storm. McPherson said he expects the Port of Tampa Bay to reopen as early as Friday afternoon.

“We are here for the long term,” he said.

The commander said the response efforts in Florida are “more than a mission”. More than 4,000 Coast Guard residents have been affected, he said, and more than 300 were in some of the worst affected areas.

The crews are also gearing up for what McPherson called “the second front of a war” as the powerful storm heads toward South Carolina.

He encouraged those affected by the storm to call 911 and discouraged the use of social media to connect with first responders.

“We are part of this community and we stand side by side with our neighbors,” he said. “We’ll get through this and we’ll recover.”

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