When a small aircraft crashes or a person goes missing, a volunteer organization is often the first called in to help. Civil Air Patrol, or CAP, is group of volunteers thousands strong across the United States. They carry out more than 90 percent of all federal inland search and rescue missions in the country.
KSTP had a rare opportunity to fly with Minnesota's 130th Composite Squadron of CAP on Sunday, October 28th, while they performed a training exercise out of Airlake Airport in Lakeville.
As an auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, CAP saves an average of 80 lives per year. They also train cadets ages 12 through 20 in aerospace and leadership.
"I feel for the families because they don't know where they are and we're trying to find them and we're doing the best we can, but it's hard," said 130th Composite Squadron Cadet Kayla Frandrup.
"They have the opportunity to help other people and somebody that's in an emergency situation," said 13th Composite Squadron Deputy Commander Major Paul Van Brunt. "The best thing they can have is to know that somebody is going to respond and come and help them or find them if they are lost or down or injured."
There are more than 1,400 CAP members in Minnesota and more than 61,000 in the country.
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