FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013
Colorado National Guard Public Affairs
CENTENNIAL, Colo. – While rain and cloud cover hampered military aviation operations in Colorado Sept. 15, the rising waters have added Colorado National Guardsman and first responders to the list of flood evacuees.
At approximately 4:20 p.m., a mix of 51 Colorado National Guardsmen, first responders and civilians, along with five pets, were reported to be stopped by rising waters in Lyons, Colo.
Flood waters rose so high that even the half-dozen Light Medium Tactical Vehicles deployed with the group – the go-to high-mobility trucks that have become the staple of the military’s ground search-and-rescue efforts – couldn’t ford them.
In the mean time, the weather in Boulder County broke, so U.S. Army aviators from the 2nd Battalion, 4th General Support Aviation, resumed flight operations from the Boulder Municipal Airport. Among their priority missions: evacuate the 51 people stranded in Lyons.
Fort Carson aviators piloting two helicopters – a CH-47 Chinook and a UH-60 Black Hawk – were able to successfully evacuate all 10 civilians and their pets, along with a number of first responders and Guardsmen, before weather took another bad turn and aviation operations were suspended again.
“It's great to provide support to our neighbors and work with such great professionals,” said Col. Robert Ault, commander of the 4th Combat Aviation Brigade. “The first responders have the desire, we have the capabilities and it’s great when we can all come together to help make a difference.”
Of the original group of 51, 15 first responders and Guardsmen, along with the high-mobility vehicles, are waiting out the flood on higher ground until flight operations resume or the waters become passable.
A total of 20 military helicopters and crews were scheduled to conduct evacuation operations Sept. 15, however, most were grounded for much of the day as heavy rain and low ceilings hampered visibility, causing flight safety issues for much of the day.
For Assignment Editors: For the most up-to-date information about the Colorado National Guard’s response to flooding, follow @CONG1860, #coflood and #COWX on Twitter or visit the Colorado National Guard website at http://co.ng.mil.
B-roll and photos from Colorado floods: http://bit.ly/1bfy0zV
Flood-response photos: http://bit.ly/1bfxBO0
Light Medium Tactical Vehicle fact sheet: http://1.usa.gov/14Ug7oe
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