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Gazette Premium Content Fort Carson soldiers help in rescue of students stranded amid Colorado flood

By Andrea Sinclair Updated: September 16, 2013 at 10:16 am

About 100 soldiers from Joint Task Force Carson supported the Colorado National Guard on order of the dual-status command authorized for search-and-rescue operations Sunday in the aftermath of northern Colorado flooding.

Three CH-47 Chinook helicopters and three UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters rescued more than 700 people from flood-affected areas in northern Colorado, including 85 students from flood evacuation areas at Camp Balarat and students from Denver Public Schools, said Maj. Earl Brown, Fort Carson spokesman.

The 4th Combat Aviation Brigade provided hoist rescues for 25 flood victims and logged more than 85 flight hours throughout the interagency mission.

"This is a team effort assisting, working with the Colorado National Guard to help protect our communities and save lives," said Brown. "This is why we train the way we do and we so we can support to our communities all along the Front Range, from droughts to deluge. Fort Carson has answered the call."

At least 16 helicopters were ready to go as soon as the weather improved and the Federal Management Agency sent two 80-person search-and-rescue teams to Larimer and Boulder counties.

FEMA administrator Craig Fugate is traveling to Colorado on Monday and will visit with Gov. John Hickenlooper to help coordinate a federal response. On its website, FEMA stated it is providing more than 65,000 liters of water and 22,000 meals for flood victims.

As of Sunday night, five people are presumed or confirmed dead, 17,494 homes destroyed or damaged, 11,700 people evacuated and a total of 1,253 people are unaccounted for, according to initial estimates by the Colorado Office of Emergency Management's website Sunday.

The staggering toll from flooding that has spread to 15 counties in Colorado continued to grow, as rain kept falling over a drenched state.

Emergency officials in Larimer County said 1,000 people still awaited rescue, but constant rain grounded airlifts and hindered attempts to drop supplies.

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