HAZARD, Ky. – More than 1,400 Kentuckians have been rescued by first responders from the Bluegrass State and neighboring Tennessee and West Virginia.
A nearly 8-minute video showcases what those rescue operations look like from the perspective of the Kentucky National Guard in response to a declared state of emergency in eastern Kentucky following catastrophic flooding last week. You can watch the chilling video above in this story.
"We are so grateful to all those responders, and a special thank you to the Governors and the Guard of Tennessee and West Virginia," Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said.
The governor said the Kentucky National Guard rescued 404 individuals by aircraft; the Tennessee National Guard rescued 224 by air, and Guard members from West Virginia rescued another 36.
On Tuesday, Kentucky Army National Guard chaplains made their way to Hazard, where they met up with Kentucky Air Guard Chaplain Capt. James Detwiler who has been embedded with the Air Guard’s Fatality Search and Recovery Team (FSRT). The unit has been activated to assist local coroners with transporting eastern Kentucky families who have lost their lives to Frankfort.
"In a tragic event of this scale, we have to come together and support one another, be that Army, Air, neighbor, local agencies," said Lt. Col. Bill Draper, Kentucky National Guard Deputy State Chaplain. "We wanted to come here to see our service members and assure them we are here. Whatever they need, we are here, and we are not going anywhere."
In total, 19 people and two dogs were rescued by boat by the Kentucky National Guard, while Kentucky State Police assisted in 624 water rescues. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources helped in 125 water rescues.
Beshear is compiling a list of resources for those impacted by flooding at governor.ky.gov/FloodResources.
Unfortunately, severe weather is continuing to hit the region as the death toll rises which has risen to 37. Contributions to the Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund will first go to paying for each flood victim’s funeral, the governor said.
"The people of Eastern Kentucky are strong and resilient people, but this damage is unimaginable," said Kentucky Air Guard Chaplain Cpt. Douglas Turner with the 103 Brigade Support Battalion. "The tragedy is the loss of life, but there is hope when we see people from all walks of life come together to rebuild their lives."
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