Aircrews from the Tennessee National Guard rescued flood victims following record rainfall that overwhelmed the North Fork River and the Kentucky River in rural Eastern Kentucky.
Following the onset of torrential rains, five UH-60L Blackhawk helicopters from the 1-230th Assault Helicopter Battalion in Nashville and Task Force Medevac in Knoxville deployed to Eastern Kentucky to assist with rescue operations. From July 28th to July 31st, 20 aviators from the National Guard and eight members of the National Fire Department rescued 151 men and women and children and transported them to higher ground. Of those people, 27 were hoisted out of the rising flood waters of the North Fork River into a hovering helicopter. The 151 victims were taken to Hazard Airport or ARH Regional Medical Center.
“I’m very fortunate to work with professionals in Tennessee Army National Guard Aviation, from the aircrew members, the support personnel, and our partners with the Nashville Fire Department.” said Col. Pat Wade, State Aviation Officer. “The recent response by this team and the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency and our Domestic Operations Staff saved many lives in the aftermath of severe flooding in Eastern Kentucky. I could not be more proud of our team, and the skills and services they provide during emergency responses.”
Flight crews will remain on standby pending further missions from the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency.