North Dakota National Guard helicopter crew rescues stranded citizens
March 25, 2009
- A North Dakota Army National Guard Black Hawk helicopter was dispatched to rescue fellow North Dakotans stranded by rising flood waters.
BISMARCK, N.D. - In response to a request from emergency services officials of Grant County, N.D., through the N.D. Department of Emergency Services, a N.D. Army National Guard Black Hawk helicopter was dispatched to rescue fellow North Dakotans stranded by rising flood waters. An additional crew of Soldiers responded by ground transportation to help in Linton, N.D.
The air emergency request was met within one hour, with the helicopter launching from Bismarck at about 6 p.m. on March 22. It was piloted by Maj. Paul Helton and Chief Warrant Officer Monte Myers with crew chiefs Staff Sgt. Mike Carlson and Sgt. Monte Weiand.
The first rescue was of two citizens and two dogs from a farm in rural Carson, N.D. The second rescue of two citizens was from a farm near New Leipzig, N.D. Both farms were surrounded by four to five feet of floodwaters, making overland rescue impossible.
About 20 Soldiers and National Guard equipment also left for Linton, N.D., within two hours' notice last night to assist in evacuating portions of the town, filling sandbags and providing traffic control points in support of local law enforcement.
"We've had guys that are 90 years old and have never seen it [water] come up this hard, this fast," said Linton Sheriff Gary Sanders. "We had rain a month ago that froze up all the culverts and held everything back. That little bit of rain we had earlier today broke everything loose. Both Spring Creek and Beaver Creek began to flow, plus there were some ice jams west of Linton. We got a tracked excavator with a 60-foot boom and broke up the ice jams at the bridges. The water dropped for an hour, then rose again. It's just coming up and coming up. When something like this happens, you're grateful for any help you can get. Having access to the Guard and the resources they provide is a good thing."
Linton Emergency Manager Shawna Paul agreed, saying, "nobody's ever seen water like this [in Linton]. You know when you need help you can call on the Guard."
About 260 Soldiers and Airmen continue to respond to flood conditions all across the state, assisting with sandbagging operations, providing dike patrol and security, and breaking up ice packs on the Red River near Wahpeton that are causing water to overflow its banks.