20:08 PM

CAP sUAS Mission Leads to Rescue of Florida Boater Trapped After Ian

Images supplied by Civil Air Patrol’s small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) team for the Federal Emergency Management Agency resulted in the morning rescue Oct. 4 of a person trapped in a boat in a mangrove swamp in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.

The rescued individual is receiving medical attention. According to FEMA, which credited CAP with a life saved, the victim wouldn’t have been found anytime soon without the sUAS imagery.

The sUAS team, dispatched from Civil Air Patrol’s Missouri Wing, has been assisting FEMA’s ground search and rescue efforts since Ian made landfall last week. Team-provided information and imagery has enabled search and rescue workers to rapidly and effectively locate people in need of life-saving assistance, particularly in difficult-to-access areas.

Acting as a Total Force partner and official civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, Civil Air Patrol helps First Air Force rapidly respond to nonmilitary threats domestically in a Defense Support of Civil Authorities capacity to save lives, relieve suffering, prevent property damage, and provide humanitarian assistance.

The sUAS team is only one component of Civil Air Patrol’s efforts in assisting state agencies and FEMA after Ian. Aircrews and ground teams have been working continuously since the hurricane made landfall last week, completing a variety of requested tasks to assist with damage assessments. The information and images they provide help expedite assistance to those in need and to determine priorities for repairs to storm-damaged infrastructure. 

Aircrews from the Florida Wing and other Civil Air Patrol wings have been supplying a variety

of photos, including standard oblique images taken by photographers using digital cameras. Some aircraft have been outfitted with specialized cameras that generate orthomosaic imagery, which produces a 3D, 360-degree view of storm-affected areas. 

Civil Air Patrol ground teams are continuing to collect high-water mark data, also used in damage assessments. Several CAP ground vehicles have orthomosaic cameras temporarily installed to provide 3D, 360-degree ground-level images. These teams have been working in areas surrounding Daytona, Orlando, Fort Myers, Tamiami, and Naples. 

The sUAS team, along with hundreds of other CAP volunteers from across the country, will continue to work in various capacities in the air, on the ground, and on remote support teams as part of the response to Ian.
Maj. Sybrian Castleman
Public Affairs Officer
Florida Wing