ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (WNCN/WAVY) — The U.S. Coast Guard has now helped rescue nearly 200 people and more than 90 pets in North Carolina in the response to Hurricane Florence, officials said.
Rescue operations are underway across the North Carolina coast as flood waters cause devastation in the storm’s wake. At least 17 people have been confirmed dead since Florence made landfall on Friday.
The Coast Guard said crews have rescued 193 people and 91 pets in North Carolina in that time. Of those rescues, 133 people and 20 pets were rescued by helicopter crews.
The Coast Guard’s shallow water response teams rescued another 60 people and 71 pets.
“We are an agile and adaptive force, no matter the mission,” said Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Karl Schultz. “Over the past 24 hours, Coast Guard men and women have saved lives, rescued pets, helped restore power, and teamed with local, state and federal partners in the whole-of-government response to Florence. We are America’s first responders. We are always ready.”
Shallow water response teams are helping in Sampson, Cumberland, Columbus, Robeson, Hoke, Carteret, Brunswick and Lenoir counties by conducting rescues and clearing roads to enable emergency crews and shallow water vessels to reach those in distress, according to the Coast Guard.
There are more than 3,000 Coast Guard members responding to the storm. Thirty-five shallow-water rescue boat teams are deployed in the state.
The Coast Guard is conducting air operations out of Elizabeth City and Savannah, Georgia.
The Coast Guard said all port operations have stopped at Wilmington, Morehead City, and Georgetown, South Carolina.
A total of nine Coast Guard aircraft are now headed to North Carolina after searching the Georgia and South Carolina coast.