Monday, September 03, 2012

Volunteer Pilots Are Ocean County's Eyes in the Sky: Group of pilots called the" Ocean Black Sheep" assist in search, law enforcement missions

Within a minute after takeoff from Miller Air Park in Berkeley Township, pilot Bill Denlinger made a pass over the Sarco sand pits deep in the pines of Manchester.

It was the first of 14 checkpoints Denlinger would fly over between Manasquan Inlet and the tip of Mystic Islands in Little Egg Harbor during his volunteer aerial sunset patrol of Ocean County.

On this night, a couple of people could be seen illegally operating ATVs in the sand pits, but that would be the only suspicious activity detected during the  90-minute patrol.

A week earlier, however, a patrol flight spotted a sizable fuel leak in a lagoon in Little Egg Harbor that was reported to the state Department of Environmental Protection, and other recent patrols have yielded finds ranging from a woman stuck on an uninhabited island with a disabled jet-ski to the location of a boat that had caught fire in Barnegat Bay. All were reported to authorities, who led rescue missions.

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