Thursday, January 14, 2010

Clearwater Coast Guard helps in Haiti

Courtesy of Gloria Gomez and Fox 13 Tampa Bay

CLEARWATER - From the air the Coast Guards C-130 aircraft captured the massive devastation in Haiti.

Several Coast Guard units from Clearwater made the three-hour trip to the earthquake-shattered region.

Public Affairs Specialist Sondra-Kay Kneen witnessed the destruction firsthand.

"So many collapsed buildings so much damage between homes and businesses. It was hard to tell the difference between them because they were so damaged," Kneen said.

The Coast Guard Station in Clearwater sent several C-130 aircrafts as well as multiple MH 60 Jayhawk Rescue Helicopters. Early Wednesday morning crews accessed the damage and provided personnel relief where needed.

During its relief mission, the Coast Guard unit in Clearwater rescued nine U.S. Embassy workers from Port Au Prince.

Lt. Commander John Mixson says they were transported to Guantanamo Bay Navel Station for medical attention.

"All the injuries were described to me as crushing type or impact type injuries things subsequent to an earthquake," he added.

Mixson said they have the personnel and aircrafts ready to go at a moment's notice.

"Our C-130s are capable of logistic missions by moving personnel or relief supplies as well as conducting search patrols both on the shoreline and offshore should it be needed," Mixson added.