Operation Finger Lakes Rescue
OE-0029 - August 2018 - SAF 1 - North America - USA - New York
In August 2018, a persistently wet weather pattern culminated in major flash flooding on the shores of Seneca and Cayuga Lakes in western New York after some areas received as much as 9 inches of rain in 12 hours. There was severe damage to property and infrastructure, including major damage to homes in the area. Damage on the ground limited the mobility of local responders and an immediate need existed for first aid supplies and protective gear for recovery workers. Following the successful beta tests of the model in Florida (Hurricane Irma) and Puerto Rico (Hurricane Maria), Operation Endeavor joined with Wings of Michael S.A.R. for the inaugural Airborne Reconnaissance deployment of the Ground Zero Recon (GZR) service line to deliver relief supplies and conduct aerial reconnaissance of the flooded areas. A dual-pilot team of OE/WOMSAR leaders departed MSV in Sullivan County, NY in a PA-28 151 Piper Warrior and flew through still unstable and evolving weather patterns to the affected area where they captured aerial imagery of the damage as requested by the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) on the ground. Following a landing at Ovid Airport (D82), a small local airfield, the team transitioned to the EOC where they delivered nearly 200 pounds of much needed supplies. The aerial imagery was shared with EOC staff who were able to more accurately deploy resources to areas they had not yet been able to assess from the ground. The mission was a great success and affirmed the power of the GZR model of providing accurate, credible, and time-critical information from the epicenters of disaster areas utilizing airborne resources.