KY Air Guard sending Fatality Search and Recovery Team to North Carolina

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Kentucky Air National Guard is sending more help to North Carolina.

The guard says, at the request of North Carolina public health officials, the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Fatality Search and Recovery Team is deploying 11 members to North Carolina in the wake of Hurricane Florence.

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The team will help augment the North Carolina Medical Examiner.

Hurricane Florence has claimed at least 18 lives so far.

The Kentucky Air Guardsmen are deploying with a variety of disaster-response equipment including specialized protective suits, rafts and trailers, as well as their own food and water supply, according to Captain Jonathan Fairbanks, the team’s officer in charge.

It is anticipated that the Airmen will be paired with a cadaver-dog search team.

Fairbanks said his team is well-prepared for the sensitive tasking.

“Our mission is to recover those who have lost their lives, and we have the training and resources to return them back to their families with dignity and respect,” Fairbanks said.

The Kentucky Guard has already deployed two other units in support of relief efforts — the Kentucky Air Guard’s Louisville-based 123rd Special Tactics Squadron and the Kentucky Army Guard’s 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade from Frankfort.

Other units from the Kentucky Air Guard are prepared for additional taskings, said Col. Jeffrey Wilkinson, commander of the Louisville-based 123rd Airlift Wing.