Disaster Relief Continues After Hurricane Joaquin
October 14, 2015
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  • General aviation pilots are still needed to help deliver relief supplies in South Carolina after severe flooding, caused in part by Hurricane Joaquin, devastated the area.

    AERObridge is seeking six to eight pilots to fly from Jim Hamilton L.B. Owens Airport in Columbia, South Carolina, to Georgetown County Airport in Georgetown on Oct. 16, which “is the closest airport from which we have usable roads to the area these supplies are needed,” the nonprofit disaster relief and coordination group said in a news release.

    “To date, AERObridge has transported over 3 tons of food and water to assist the residents of South Carolina who have suffered so much,” the group said. “Our work is not yet finished.”

    AERObridge coordinated with state and country agencies and emergency operation centers to get supplies where they were needed most.

    On Oct. 9, relief flights delivered supplies to Santee Cooper Regional Airport in Manning, South Carolina, where they were transported to a shelter serving more than 200 people who had been displaced by the flooding. “When our Director of Operations arrived at the shelter with the supplies, there was no food in the kitchen and another 5 busses of people had just arrived,” AERObridge reported. “We were able to fill the gap until supplies were sent via road.”

    In addition to notifying members of AERObridge’s need for volunteer pilots, AOPA donated $5,000 for the group to purchase supplies such as bottled water, dry cereal, powdered milk, juice, grits, oatmeal, pasta, rice, and canned goods that were delivered during the Oct. 11 airlift that included 10 aircraft.

    “AERObridge would like to thank AOPA for alerting their members and all who registered their aircraft to assist in our South Carolina relief efforts,” the group said in a press release. Those who wish to participate in the ongoing efforts in South Carolina can register on the AERObridge website .

    AOPA also donated $5,000 to Florida-based Tropic Ocean Airways  to purchase supplies for their relief flights to the Bahamas. The company initially used their Cessna Caravans on floats to deliver much-needed supplies to islands where airports were temporarily closed because of flooding or other damage. The company said it delivered more than 15 tons of supplies within days after the hurricane, dedicating its entire fleet of Caravans on wheels and floats to the mission. The company’s pilots even helped rescue a couple in their 90s  and relocated them to another island to be with family.

    “The general aviation community is a generous group, donating their time, aircraft, and supplies to aid others in need,” said AOPA President Mark Baker. “Our donation is a small part of this community effort, and we applaud all of the pilots and organizations working day in and day out to bring relief to the hardest hit areas of South Carolina and the Bahamas Islands.”