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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
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    Default Ike and the Texas Coast

    One of the RTA contributing writers, Aaron Reed, is part of the search/rescue/recovery team working on the Bolivar Peninsula. Virtually the entire town of Gilchrist was washed away. For some somber information -- look at this photo and read this article.

    Our thought and hopes are with the courageous rescue personnel who are now searching for the missing bodies from the former town.

    Aaron's blog can be read here -- he hasn't had any time to update it since the 12th... I just learned that Aaron has returned home for a couple of days. We will post more information about his experiences as they become available.

    Mark

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
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    10,749

    Default Very sad.

    The destructive forces of nature are very sobering.

    Our thought and hopes are with the courageous rescue personnel who are now searching for the missing bodies from the former town.
    Indeed they are.

    For those that didn't make it out, R.I.P.

    Dave

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
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    10,060

    Default Photos and Reports

    These links were provided by Aaron Reed --

    This is a slide show of photos taken by Aaron showing his fellow Texas Game Wardens
    -- some great photos of dangerous snakes and the astounding force of the water and it did to the homes on the Bolivar peninsula. Actually, this is an entire site being built-on-the-fly by Aaron Reed -- his commentary is as riveting as the photo collection -- swing by and see what he is seeing right now...

    Here is video footage shot of the Gilchrist area -- one of the first videos taken on the ground -- the reporter was traveling with the game wardens.

    Another slideshow of the destruction with photos of game wardens in the thick of the rescue/recovery action

    An LA Times article with photos (Game Wardens John Feist and Bobby Jobes rescue two women and pets & the two reporters whose car was stuck in the mud)

    Here are several amazing sets of before and after photos of the area taken by the USGS.

    This link was suggested by contributor Dan, a very good compilation of storm photos and comments from viewers around the world.

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 09-20-2008 at 01:12 PM. Reason: new link

  4. #4
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    Jan 1998
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    Default Update from Aaron Reed

    Aaron Reed is on his way back down to Anahuac, Texas (the staging area for much of the recovery/rescue personnel).

    Over the next several days, game wardens and specially-trained cadaver dogs will be painstakingly searching some of the scores of debris piles they have found in aerial searches. The good news, so far, is that no bodies have been discovered -- but there are still lots of former residents from the area unaccounted for.

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone still missing and those who continue to search.

    Mark

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default thanks for sharing all those links

    It's just horrific. I'm glad you've kept us updated.

  6. #6
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    Default Aaron is sunburned and muddy but still "out there"

    Aaron spent the day getting hissed & growled at by giant alligators and slogging through acres of mud, in the continuing search for bodies along the Texas gulf. Here are photos from earlier today.

    Think your life has some challenges? -- here is part of the post Aaron made in his field notes earlier today:

    "....Refrigerators float. Mattresses float. Walls and windows and staircases and roofs float. Boats float, of course, and so do life jackets, coolers and bottles of vegetable oil.

    Shoes float; so do plastic toys. Surprisingly, televisions float. Stuffed animals, dressers, hats and mardi gras beads float. Collanders float, cows float, and armadillos and marsh rabbits and horses and snakes float.

    The theory is that people will, too, and that’s why we spent the day searching a massive debris field in southern Chambers County.

    Apparently no one really knows how many Bolivar residents are still missing a week after Ike. We do know that much of what was Gilchrest and a good chunk of Crystal Beach is now a splintered jumble against a treeline about 5 miles inland of East Bay’s northern shoreline. (emphasis added)

    That’s where we took the cadaver dogs today. Five teams spread out across Chambers County – some traveling by all-terrain vehicle, some by airboat, some by swamp buggy. We searched shorelines and ranches and refuge marsh.

    No one has yet found a body.

    Everyone agrees that doesn’t mean one or more isn’t out there; it’s just that there’s so damned much debris on the ground, and so much death stink in the air, it’s awful hard to know for sure.

    But Chambers Co. Sheriff Joe LaRive – and the game wardens and deputies and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees and dog handlers – all the good people out there today, feel a certain duty to be as sure as they can possibly be.

    For Bobby Anderson, who says his friend Sandy was swept out of the rafters of a Crystal Beach building at the height of the storm. For the people Game Warden Hector Gonzalez talked to who, one moment, saw a dozen people on the roof of the house next to theirs; the next moment, nothing.

    This low country has a habit of keeping its secrets on a schedule all its own. Like the story I heard this morning about a skull that washed into a duck blind a couple of seasons back; turned out to be the noggin of a fellow who had disappeared a decade before.

    Not finding bodies a week after the hurricane ... is that good news or is it bad news? It's awful hard to know for sure...."


    You can read more about the recovery effort on Aaron's Search Blog here.

    Keeping you in our mind's eye -- that all of you return home safely soon....

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 09-21-2008 at 11:26 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
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    3,318

    Default Wow...

    There are really no words. I sent Aaron a message thanking him for his hard work and prayers to him and others impacted by this storm.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Poignant

    It must be awful for those waiting for news of lost ones.

    Not finding bodies a week after the hurricane ... is that good news or is it bad news? It's awful hard to know for sure...."
    I lost a mate to the sea last year and although we knew he was gone after a day of search and rescue missions, you still fear they won't be found and there will be no closure for the people closest to the victim. Almost 3 weeks later he rose to the surface and was discovered less than a mile from where they found the empty boat.

    I can't begin to imagine what it must be like searching an area of such devastation. Hopefully some of the missing got out and are unaccounted for.

    R.I.P.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
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    Default Sorry to hear about your friend

    That must have been tough for you -- wondering where your friend was. It's sort of amazing that his body was recovered that long after his death. I had a friend who was killed while swimming off the coast of Australia -- he was an incredible swimmer, but made a couple of fateful decisions that led to his premature departure from this world. It took several days for his body to re-appear as well.

    As time goes on, the chance that the search parties will recover intact bodies grows slim. There are a lot of hungry animals on the ground in that post-Ike area of the world.

    It is a very dangerous search that those game wardens and others are engaged in -- lots of irritated snakes, gators and biting insects to contend with.

    Mark

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sedenquist View Post
    That must have been tough for you -- wondering where your friend was. It's sort of amazing that his body was recovered that long after his death.
    Mark
    Yes it was, and sorry for going off topic, this sort of news kind of brings it home sometimes.
    He was in full fishing gear, including heavy jumpers, oilskins and boots [although they are normally worn oversize so they can be kicked of easily in these circumstances]. The cold waters were thought to be responsible for how long he remained on the bottom. I am sure you are aware of the reasons for this so I won't go into detail.

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