KENTUCKY, USA — Tennessee National Guard troops are responding to the severe flooding in eastern Kentucky that has killed at least 16 people.
The Tennessee Adjutant General, Major General Jeff Holmes, announced five Blackhawk helicopters from the Tennessee Army National Guard are assisting emergency responders, according to a press release.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear confirmed at least 16 people have died, including two children, saying he expects more deaths will eventually be confirmed.
Governor Bill Lee authorized Tennessee guardsmen to provide critical air-rescue support in eastern Tennessee. The support is in coordination with the Tennessee and Kentucky Emergency Management Agencies. According to the press release, states can request relief and support from other states during and after disasters through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact.
"The Volunteer State is committed to supporting our neighbors in Kentucky as they respond to devastating flooding. Grateful for the efforts of TEMA, [the Tennessee National Guard] and all emergency professionals as they assist communities across Eastern Kentucky," Lee said.
The helicopters are stationed in East Kentucky to help with rescue operations. Each helicopter has an emergency hoist system, water rescue baskets, exposure suits, and swift water trained medics and aircrew, the press release said.
Three evacuation helicopters stationed in Louisville, Kentucky, were also activated to assist with rescues, according to the press release.
Flash flooding and mudslides were reported across the mountainous region of eastern Kentucky, western Virginia, and southern West Virginia, where thunderstorms dumped several inches of rain over the past few days.