Members of Mass. Coast Guard travel to Florida to assist in aftermath of Hurricane Ian

CAPE COD-- A U.S. Coast Guard team from Cape Cod is down in Florida, helping with relief efforts following Hurricane Ian.

LCDR Jason Maddux and LCDR Sean Stadig are getting ready to respond to Naples, Florida Thursday, where some of the most help will be needed following Hurricane Ian. They spent the night in West Palm Beach, away from the storm, so they would be ready to fly once it’s safe to do so.

“From just a sheer size, strength perspective, it’ll be eye opening to see tomorrow what comes of it,” said LCDR Stadig, who went down to Florida from Cape Cod.

He says they’ll have a couple crews flying out in helicopters Thursday to not only assess the damage, but also start rescuing people who may be stranded.

“The initial response is mainly going to be rescues and then kind of surveying the area to get information out to the FEMA teams, so they know where they can get,” said LCDR Stadig, an aircraft commander.

He says from up above their Coast Guard teams will be able to see if any bridges are blocked that may prevent access to certain communities.

“We’ll also report bridges and other infrastructure that is still standing, that way the incident management team can come up with a good plan for evacuation sites and places for us to distribute food, water and supplies from,” said LCDR Stadig.

So far, video from Naples already shows homes destroyed by flooding, and even first responders trying to keep doing their jobs while waist deep in water.

“Everything from the 150+ knot winds to the storm surge that’s now being reported at plus twelve feet – almost without a doubt there are people who are stranded in their homes,” said LCDR Jason Maddux, an aircraft commander for the U.S. Coast Guard in Clearwater, Florida.

Both aircraft commanders say they’re ready to respond to what will be the biggest hurricane disaster they’ve ever experienced.

“It’ll be interesting to see once the sunlight comes up tomorrow what everything looks like,” said LCDR Stadig.

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