Help finally arrives in search for the missing

October 2, 2008 4:15:22 PM PDT
The search is on for dozens still unaccounted for after Hurricane Ike. ROAD TO RECOVERY: How you can help | School closings | Person locator | Important phone numbers | Assistance from FEMA | Filing a claim | Latest power numbers

Recovery crews are stepping up their efforts to find as many as 50 people still missing after the storm came ashore more than two weeks ago. Crews have a lot of area to cover, especially along the Bolivar Peninsula, which was one of the hardest hit areas, and is covered with the debris of destroyed homes.

Up until now, the search and recovery effort on the Bolivar Peninsula has been led by a handful of local volunteers, most of whom have lost everything. On Thursday, the help they waited two weeks for from the state finally arrived.

"I'm not real happy with it, I'll tell you that for sure," said Crystal Beach Volunteer Fire Department Chief David Loop. "I think some of it was a little bit slow on the movement from different agencies to get what we needed in here. It's here now. I'm thankful for that."

Texas Task Force 1 and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice are now assisting in the efforts to find the missing. They've split the peninsula into grids and are relying heavily on cadaver dogs trained to sniff out the remains of those believed to be buried under the sand and debris.

"We have had some places that we've flagged and marked," said Loop. "That doesn't necessarily mean that something's there, but something's there of interest that we need to take a better look at."

The work there is just beginning. As of right now, only 25 percent of the peninsula has been searched once. With so much territory left to cover, it could be several more days before the job is finished.

"We want to make sure every effort is made here on Crystal Beach and on the Bolivar Peninsula that we can to get this taken care of," said Loop.

Also, members of the special K-9 Search and Recovery out of Montgomery County are assisting in the search. They've been on the peninsula since Monday. Up to 10 different debris fields have been marked and flagged. Search teams have not found any bodies there.

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