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Pennsylvania Guard rescues two South Carolina flood victims

By Capt. Travis Mueller | Pennsylvania National Guard | Sept. 21, 2018

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MULLINS, S.C. – Members of the Pennsylvania National Guard and Pennsylvania Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team performed an aerial evacuation of two stranded residents Thursday.

A Pennsylvania National Guard crew, PA-HART members and their UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, were staged at the regional airport in Florence, South Carolina. They received a call about 2:30 p.m., to evacuate two patients at a location in Marion County. The crew took off from the airport at 2:40 p.m. and arrived at the scene in Mullins, South Carolina, about 10 minutes later.

Upon arrival to the assigned location, the crew identified a home surrounded by floodwater. They were able to land the helicopter on an island near the home. The home was without power.

A local emergency boat crew was on the scene and assisted the Pennsylvania National Guard and PA-HART members with the evacuation of the couple from their home and on to the helicopter. The Pennsylvania National Guard crew flew the couple to Florence Regional Airport and transferred care to paramedics.

"This mission would not have been possible if it wasn't for long training and knowing each other's muscle memories on what was going to happen next," said George Drees, rescue team leader with PA-HART.

Local leaders in the area believe that flooding will develop further until early next week.

Pennsylvania National Guard and PA-HART members plan to conduct more search and rescue missions Friday in South Carolina. They stand ready to assist residents and complete further assignments as directed by local authorities.