NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — Five Blackhawks from the Tennessee Army National Guard joined forces with various agencies responding to flooding across eastern Kentucky that killed 16 people and counting.
Gov. Bill Lee authorized the support, which involves two UH-60L Blackhawk helicopters from Nashville’s 1-230th Assault Helicopter Battalion — one of which holds a group of rescue divers with the Guard’s Aquatic Rescue Team and Nashville Fire Department (NFD). The second helicopter sent members of NFD’s swift water rescue team.
A trio of medical evacuation Blackhawk helicopters from Task Force MEDEVAC are equipped with an emergency hoist system, water rescue baskets, exposure suits and swift-water trained medics and aircrew.
The Associated Press on Friday reported that Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear expects the death total to climb — and perhaps even double — as crews and rescue teams swamp the rural areas of Jackson nestled in Appalachian valleys. Beshear revealed that children are among some of the dead.
Upcoming rain forecasts still pose a threat to eastern Kentucky and Southwest Virginia as the localities rush to locate those who have yet to be reached.