Black Hawk Helicopters On Standby To Rescue Oklahoma Flood Victims

Saturday, May 25th 2019, 11:59 pm
By: Erick Payne

MUSKOGEE COUNTY --  National guard helicopters are on standby right now to help get people out of Muskogee County because of the rising floodwaters. Several government agencies are also monitoring the water level and Oklahoma Transportation Secretary Tim Gatz says they’re taking a very coordinated approach.

"That's really where it starts, we've all got to be talking, we've all got to be communicating and we've all got to be prepared to do what we have to do," Gatz says.

As widespread flooding hits Muskogee County and other parts of the state, officials say their team is working around the clock.

“A storm of this magnitude is a challenge to manage," says Gatz.

Part of that challenge is closing highways or road inundated with floodwater. Many people living near the Arkansas River are already moving all their belongings out as the water creeps into their homes. In Braggs, county leaders are stepping in to help residents cut off because of closed roads.

"We’re already getting requests for medication and oxygen and things like that and some people are really struggling without electricity," County Commissioner Ken Doke says.

He tells News On 6 the Army National Guard has two Black Hawk helicopters on standby at Camp Gruber to help evacuate people, but it's a one-time opportunity he hopes people will use.

"The river level is still coming up, so we're dealing with a very dynamic situation there," Doke says.

This week’s flooding is approaching a new record for Muskogee County and officials says their main priority is keeping people safe.

"It’s unprecedented, we're dealing with an event here like nothing I've ever experienced and so we're managing it in that method we've got all hands on deck and we're working really hard," says Doke.