Lowcountry pilots delivering supplies impacted by Hurricane Florence


Pilots departing from the Mount Pleasant Regional Airport are assisting in relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.

The first crew took off on Monday afternoon to deliver supplies to a shelter in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

People are running out of supplies at shelters and some people are stranded as flood waters have made roads impassible.

Contract pilot Sebastian Castro, who owns WES Air Services, says he reached out to one of his clients to see if he'd want to offer his time to deliver supplies and he agreed.

"The shelters are running out of supplies and therefore we are going to go up there, drop the supplies off and later in the day we are probably going to head to Wilmington," Castro said. "We are understanding that they are flooded, and in fact the airport there has some air traffic controllers who are stranded in the traffic control tower."

Michael Zimmer's airplane will be used for the first mission trip. Castro and Zimmer will make the delivery.

"We dodged a bullet with this one, it could have been us," Zimmer said. "I remember Hurricane Hugo hitting here and how devastating it was and how many people did help. In particular in North Carolina they have flooding and the rivers are going to crest on Wednesday, so right now trucks can't get into the area. They can't get out, people are running out of food. They don't have any power and people have babies they are trying to feed."

Some local pilots have been in touch with Operation Airdrop to help coordinate efforts.

It's a nonprofit that originated to help assist people impacted by Hurricane Irma and to provide relief efforts in Texas.

Certified flight instructor and retired Air Force pilot Julie Grundahl is assisting with the coordination efforts out of Mount Pleasant Regional Airport and will make deliveries as well.

"We started mobilizing the effort locally to get donations and then we also started calling to the affected areas, the sheriff's departments, the Red Cross, the airports to figure out if we could get in, how to get in and who would be meeting us there on the other end," Grundahl said.

There are multiple pilots who are volunteering their time to drop off items. If any pilot wants to join in on these efforts their help is welcome. These missions trips will continue as long as there is a need.

They are asking for donations.

If you'd like to donate you can drop items off at the Mount Pleasant Regional Airport located at 700 Faison Road from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Here are list of donation items they are seeking:* Baby Formula* Diapers (all sizes)* Baby Wipes* Batteries (all types)* Flashlights, Headlamps, Lanterns* Sanitary Products* Toiletries* Non-perishable foods: Energy bars, trail mix, dried fruit, ect.* Aspirin or Tylenol* Clean clothes (used or new, all sizes)* Pet food* Duct tape* Large Ziplock bags* Trash bags* Alcohol swabs* Lysol Wipes

They are not asking for water because it weighs down the small plane.If you'd like to give a monetary donation you can visit this site MCCUnite.org.

Coordinators at the Mount Pleasant Regional Airport are partnering with the nonprofit Military Community Connection to provide support to people impacted by Hurricane Florence as well. Donations made through this site are tax deductible.

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