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02 July 2015

Hovercraft Rescue Training on Flooded Wabash River

First responders from the Council Bluffs Fire Department in Iowa had an exceptional opportunity yesterday to undergo flight training and learn flood rescue techniques in their new 6-passenger Neoteric Rescue HoverTrek. HTC flight instructors Chris Fitzgerald and Steve Stafford conducted their training on the Wabash River, now at 22.8 ft. flood stage.
The steep Wabash River boat ramp is submerged in water all the way to the parking lot
as Council Bluffs’ first responders begin their training.
Fire Chief Justin James reported, “I am excited to get back to Council Bluffs and start training our personnel on the new rescue craft. Crazy part was we were operating in real flood waters here in Terre Haute. Reminded me of 2011. It was awesome being able to operate in deep and shallow flood water without having to worry about destroying a motor or boat. We also got to train rescuing victims that may be stranded in trees or roofs of homes due to the rising waters. We simply used the craft to hover into and hold position near these real obstacles.”
A structure near the Wabash River is nearly covered with water.
Firefighter Jason Sornson added, “Big thanks to Chris and Steve for an awesome experience. Everything around the Wabash River was flooded, which led to an amazing training experience! Great machine for Council Bluffs Fire Department!”

Sornson is correct – their new hovercraft is a great asset for their city. When Chief James said the flooded Wabash River reminded him of 2011, he was referring to a summer of massive floods in Council Bluffs, so severe that the National Guard had to be called in to assist with hundreds of rescues. Dozens of homes and other structures literally collapsed in the torrential rains and flash floods.

As the U.S. National Weather Service reports, “Flooding is one of the leading causes of weather-related fatalities in the U.S. … People underestimate the force and power of water, especially when it is moving. Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock over and carry off an adult. Twelve inches of water can float a small car; if that water is moving, it can carry that car away. Eighteen to twenty-four inches of flowing water can carry away most vehicles.”

That’s why fire departments and other rescue agencies are increasingly relying on hovercraft as the ideal vehicle for flood rescue operations. As a newscaster reported during the recent floods in Texas, “A hovercraft is sometimes the easiest way for the rescuers to get to folks surrounded by these waters … You can’t go out in normal boats because you don’t know what kind of debris is out there … These hovercraft are just a much more effective way …”

And Neoteric’s Rescue HoverTrek, with its patented reverse thrust, easily and safely operates in  debris-filled floodwater and has the unique maneuverability for up-close access to victims without forcing first responders to enter the water.
Council Bluffs Fire Department’s new 6-passenger Rescue HoverTrek at the flooded Wabash River.

First responders: 
Learn why a Neoteric hovercraft is the preferred flood rescue vehicle …

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