Clearwater Coast Guard crews help in Houston rescues

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – Dramatic rescues during Tropical Storm Harvey continue in Houston, Texas. 

Among the rescuers are members of the U.S. Coast Guard, who meticulously plucked flood stranded Texans from danger.

Thirty-five of those Coast Guard members are from Clearwater.

Senior Chief Charles Fowler has worked operations like this before, namely Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

Each storm presents its own share of challenges.

“The swift water in general and hazards that are hidden in the water, or contaminates in the water or wildlife that is in the water, things that normally wouldn’t be running loose. You have no way of noticing that,” Fowler said.

Four Jayhawk helicopters from Cleartwater are in Houston right now, along with two C-130 airplanes.

Overall, the Coast Guard has rescued more than 4,000 people.

Tuesday alone, the Clearwater guard helped nearly 70.

Lt. Commander George Menze will likely be part of the second wave from Clearwater to head to Houston to give the current group a break.  He’s done this before.

“During Hurricane Katrina, I was in the same position 12 years ago,” he said.

He added the gratitude of those they help, from the moment they enter that safety basket, is why they do what they do.

“People, when they get on there, we do usually sense a little bit of relief when they get on the helicopter and that’s a great thing to see,” LCDR Menze said.

There is no word on exactly when the replacement group heads to Houston.

The U.S. Coast Guard – Southeast says those interested in volunteering or contributing to the Coast Guard’s efforts can learn more at 

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Read more stories about Harvey here

You can donate to the Red Cross by going to its website, calling 1-800-HELP NOW (1-800-435-7669) or texting 90999 to donate $10. The money goes toward recovery efforts.

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