Monday, April 28, 2014

Civil Air Patrol Planes Examine Arkansas Tornado Damage

LITTLE ROCK, AR (News release) - The Arkansas Wing of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary, has been assisting in the response to the devastating tornados that struck central Arkansas Sunday evening. 

The Civil Air Patrol has been tasked with taking aerial video and still photography of damaged areas and currently has seven light aircraft participating in the effort and a mission base as been set up at CAP headquarters at the Little Rock National Airport.       

Maj. Doug Wood, Arkansas Wing administrator, said the view from above showed widespread damage. Of one subdivision in Vilonia, he commented, “Not one house was standing. Everything else was just flattened.”

Capt. John Bowden of the wing’s 42nd Composite Squadron in Little Rock said, “It looks like the houses and buildings just exploded. All that is left if a flat foundation with scattered sticks all around.”

On Wednesday morning, at the request of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, CAP aircrews will photograph the entire tornado track – from Ferndale to Mount Vernon.

Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with 61,000 members nationwide, operating a fleet of 550 aircraft. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 80 lives annually.

Its volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. 

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