Batesville firefighters join in crash recovery
By John Howell
Four members of the Batesville Fire Department left Wednesday morning to assist with recovery efforts at the site of the Monday afternoon crash of a USMC KC 130 aircraft in LeFlore County.
The military transport plane carrying 15 Marines and one Navy corpsman crashed and burst into flames in a soybean field near Greenwood about 4 p.m., killing all 16.
Batesville firefighters Timmy Hill, James Bryant, Jason Sanders and Cody Edwards were activated Wednesday as members of Mississippi Task Force One, part of a statewide mutual aid system created after 9-11 to provide structured, specialized response to man-made and natural disasters that threaten to overwhelm local emergency response agencies.
Fire Chief Tim Taylor said that the BFD personnel were expected to assist in a grid search of the large debris field created by the crash and explosion.
“If they find stuff, they mark it and the military comes and recovers it,” Taylor said.
“Task Force One takes certain select guys from participating fire departments throughout the state,” the fire chief said, DeSoto County, Tupelo, Oxford and New Albany among them.
“What it provides us is specialized equipment that we normally could not or would not be able to buy for ourselves and free training,” Taylor said. The task force can be activated to provide assistance out of state by request from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The Batesville Fire Department participates via approval from the city’s board of mayor and aldermen, who annually renew an inter-local agreement. The city is reimbursed for its personnel’s participation from the Dept. of Homeland Security, according to Taylor. Equipment purchased for BFD using Homeland Security Funds include the crew cab pickup that gives task force transportation and towing ability.