First hand look at the ‘Aerial Angels’ saving lives in Colorado
Now to the latest on the deadly flooding in Colorado, NewsChannel 4′s Lance West traveled there this week, to help our sister station provide round the clock coverage to its viewers.
Lance met some of the heroes who rescued victims during the storm.
Among them there was an army pilot from Oklahoma, who was instrumental in maneuvering his Blackhawk helicopter into the treacherous Rocky Mountains to evacuate folks who were stranded.
Lance was able to get great pictures from those amazing aerial rescues.
They are “aerial angels:” swooping down to rescue Colorado flood victims.
Within three hours of the alert, the men and women of the 4th Combat Aviation Brigade at Fort Carson were hovering over Boulder County, plucking families to safety.
Lance went to areas that looked like the most damaged and waited for people to wave us down. We looked for crosses in their yard.
The cramped cockpit has been pilot, Jason Russell’s office for the last week.
An Oklahoman, who is risking his life, flying through the treacherous Rocky Mountains.
The altitude can kill the engines
Operation “Raging Waters” has been a literal life line for more than 1000 people and 338 pets.
“Nobody wants to leave their pets behind. I understand,” Army pilot, Jason Russell, says.
The 200 foot cable drop is the easy part for staff Sgt. Jose Pantoja.
“We do whatever it takes to get them up,” Pantoja says.
Persuading his passengers to climb into a basket for a spine tingling ride up is quite challenging.
“I do my best to joke. Help them enjoy the ride. Is like a roller coaster,” Pantoja explains.
The choppers are grounded now, but this mission is far from over. In fact the men and women here are on standby for 30 days, ready to go at a moment’s notice.
After all, there are still more than 100 victims who are unaccounted for.
They live to serve whether overseas or in their backyard.
They’ll fly until their eyeballs fall out if it means helping their community.
That’s just what these “iron eagles” do.
Chief Warrant Officer Jason Russell attended Cameron University and OU before becoming an army pilot.
His family still lives in Lawton.