Local crew flies drone over Irma damage

A closer look at a local drone program that is being used to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

CORPUS CHRISTI (KIII NEWS) - The U.S. Customs and Border Protection sent drones from Corpus Christi to Florida days after Hurricane Irma ripped through the sunshine state. 
 
"They want to look at and evaluate if there's any damage from hurricane Irma," Director Alan Durham said. "We'll be able to show them that real time."
 
The 8,500 lb. customs and border protection drone, the predator, is equipped with advanced cameras and radar systems. 
 
"Yesterday's mission we did some key west and miami area," air enforcement agent Correy Roddy said. "Today we've been mapping out areas in Jacksonville."
 
The crew that controls the predator and surviellance on it are inside the National Air Security Options Center at Naval Air station Corpus Christi including the cockpit.
 
Crews used the drone to take before and after photos of the damage.
 
"We are using the radar to map out some of the geographic points on infrastructure in florida right now for FEMA," Roddy said. 
 
"Whether it's trees, damage to certain infrastructures like power plants and hospitals," Durham said. 
 
The vital information they gather is sent to ground crews.
 
"That'll get the first responders in there safely and they'll be able to get their way out safely," mission coordinator Chris Waddles said.
 
Two of U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Lockhee P3 Aircraft were also sent across the Gulf of Mexico. They plan to keep an eyes over Florida skies for two more days.
 
"They did it for us for Harvey," Durham said. "We are doing it for them for Irma. So it's a give and take and it works very well."
 

© 2017 KIII-TV


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