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Pilots across Florida dedicate their time and aircraft to evacuations

Posted: 8:58 AM, Sep 08, 2019
Updated: 2019-09-18 19:54:08-04

Relief efforts continue to the Bahamas by boat and by plane but there’s volunteer pilots across Florida who are dedicating their time and aircraft as part of a larger evacuation effort.

“It’s all muscles,” said Andre Williams, an employee for Hedrick Brother’s Construction. Williams one of an army of people in Palm Beach County who have traded their day jobs for long hours loading hurricane relief donations and ensuring they leave the tarmac at Palm Beach International Airport.

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Edward Hinckley is one of dozens of pilots who’s donating his airplane, time and fuel to ensure things like generators, power cords, cleaning products, hygiene essentials and non-perishables arrive in Treasure Cay, where they’ll be distributed to the Bahamas National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

“This is your chance to give back,” said Hinckley.

Volunteer pilots are working in collaboration with Eagle’s Wings Foundation. Approximately 50 flights have left PBIA in the last four days.

“We have up to about 75 cooperative drop-off sites right now and we’re working with hundreds of businesses and thousands of individuals right now to collect those donations and get those financial donations to the Bahamas,” said Amy Simion, Eagle’s Wings Foundation volunteer.

Simion says the bulk of donations are from businesses from the City of West Palm Beach and the town of Palm Beach.

WPTV traveled with two pilots from Archangel Aviation, LLC out of Melbourne who volunteered their time to transport thousands of pounds of fuel, medicine and other essentials. The devastation surrounding Treasure Cay airport is evident from the air – and gets worse on the ground.

The now empty terminal is an eerie backdrop to a massive humanitarian effort on the tarmac, a steady flow of incoming relief and evacuations. On Saturday pilots transported 35 refugees, 36 on Friday. Pilots WPTV spoke to say the evacuations won’t cease.