Last week, KYK9 SAR trained in Russellville, Arkansas with other K9 teams, including one from Joplin , MO (about 3 hours away). Sunday night, as K9 teams headed home, a F5 tornado assaulted and pummeled Joplin, MO. The torando, which was 3/4 mile wide and touched down for 5-6 miles through the heart of the city, reached speeds exceeding 200 mph. The death toll was first confirmed in the low 50s. As of today(Saturday May 27), the death toll is 132.
KYK9 SAR was asked to come assist in rescue and recovery efforts. As we drove to Joplin, there were 70 confirmed additional tornado tuchdowns in the region. This severe weather hampered rescue efforts, and critically injured 2 responding police officers who were struck by lightening.
Arriving in Joplin, we were greeted by a scene of massive destruction and raw violent nakedness. Cars were mangled into twisted pieces of metal, houses obliterated, and churches scrushed. Iconic community structures, like St. John's Hospital seen repeatedly in the news, were left in ruins. Mile after mile of surreal scenes left searing images of death and destruction.
At incident command, we were deployed with an 8 member support unit, Team Tango. We were sent to check two churches where parishoners had been meeting when the storm hit.
To be continued in next blog entry.