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The Governor’s Division of Emergency Management directed Texas Task Force 1 to coordinate a large-scale air surveillance mission, termed “Operation Coastal Sweep,” today in portions of Texas’ coastal evacuation zones.

Thirty members of TX-TF1 coordinated the operation with nine helicopters and four fixed-wing airplanes from the Texas Military Forces. The aircraft surveyed an area of nearly 20 counties to ensure the completed evacuation of 282 areas of particular interest, such as hospitals and nursing homes.

“The fact that we were asked to perform this mission on behalf of the Governor’s Office, and that evacuation of these areas appeared to be complete, is testimony to the execution of the state’s plan in terms of getting Texans out of harm’s way,” said TX-TF1 Director Bob McKee. “The State of Texas is doing everything possible to assist the residents along the Gulf Coast in evacuating from Hurricane Ike. Our search and rescue professionals will assist as long as needed before and after landfall.”

TX-TF1 personnel participating in the mission will rejoin other task force personnel in Houston once all areas have been evacuated. Once in Houston, they will ride-out the storm and be in position to respond to search and rescue calls once the storm has passed.

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