President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. spoke today with Lieutenant Commander Christopher Hooper and Aviation Survival Technician Second Class Zach Loesch to personally thank them for the heroic work that they and their Coast Guard colleagues have performed during search and rescue operations in response to Hurricane Ian. The President thanked them for saving lives and asked for a report on the work that continues to rescue Floridians. He also asked if they needed any additional support that he can provide to accelerate successful rescues; they indicated they have gotten what they need to execute their vital mission.
At the President’s direction, dozens of Coast Guard helicopters and rescue boats were pre-deployed to support Federal, state, and local search and rescue operations as part of an unprecedented interagency Search and Rescue Coordination Group led by FEMA. As of today, their work has saved hundreds of lives. The role of the U.S. Coast Guard was particularly notable in driving those efforts. Up to 16 Coast Guard aircraft have been in the air in search of survivors in need of help since daybreak yesterday, rescuing over 100 people along the southwest Florida coast.