Rochester, New York – 11 men of the National Guard and a pair of heavy lift helicopters departed from Frederick Douglas Rochester Airport to help with the hurricane response in Florida.
According to officials, Governor Kathy Hochul requested their deployment on Wednesday morning. The 11 service members aboard are divided between the maintenance team and the pilots.
Their mission? To strengthen the Florida National Guard and provide airlift support.
“As Hurricane Ian hits the Florida coast, I join all New Yorkers in praying for the safety and well-being of every individual who will be impacted by this terrifying storm,” Gov. Hochul said.
“We are grateful for the heroism of these New Yorkers who are answering the call of duty, as well as for the extraordinary efforts of all first responders currently working to provide aid and support to the people of Florida,” Gov. Hochul said. “New York will always stand up and help our neighbors in a time of need.”
The plane can fly at 190 mph and transport 36 passengers or more than 46,000 pounds of cargo, according to officials. The same kind of chopper was earlier dispatched to Florida in October 2018 to help with Hurricane Michael recovery efforts.
When Hurricane Ian made landfall in Naples, Florida on Wednesday, it resulted in “catastrophic damage.” Early on Thursday morning, the storm, which had previously been degraded to a Category 4 hurricane with 155 mph windspeeds, was lowered to a tropical storm as it advances up north.