Clayton Airport is Center of Aerial Activity - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

01.03.07

Clayton Airport is Center of Aerial Activity

Clayton's airport is now a staging ground for helicopters helping out people stranded in their homes in Union County. Newschannel 10's Tina Berasley brings us the latest. 
 
    Throughout the day, helicopters have been flying in and out of the airport to re-fuel...stock up on medical supplies and get hay to feed cattle.
    The New Mexico Army National Guard brought a Blackhawk helicopter from the Santa Fe headquarters to help ranchers in rural Union county.
   The four person crew dropped bales of hay to cattle in areas that couldn't be reached on the ground.
   Capt. James Mitchell told Newschannel10 "It's pretty hard to get everywhere even in a pretty sturdy four wheel drive, and the time and money it would cost to get stuff in on the ground is high and we can do it a lot faster in the air. So we've shaved a lot of time off".
   They packed the Blackhawk several times with the cattle feed and delivered it to ranches across the county.
   The New Mexico State police also took to the skies to help people in need of medical supplies.
   They delivered prescription drugs to eight homes in the county.
  Lt. Pat Mooney said "We do a lot of search and rescue all the time and this is just another angle of the search and rescue...we work for the tax payers of New Mexico and these are the citizens we are trying to help, so if they need the medical help then our helicopter, well, that's what it's there for".
   Along for the ride was a Union County extention agent surveying the land from the sky. He is optimistic about the progress being made on rural county roads. 
   David Graham added "Of course the ranchers got hay. They just couldn't get it to it to get it around.  And now we've got some big equipment in there and now they're are making trails and the ranchers are following them. Then they're are picking up hay and dropping hea to the cattle".      

   Clayton City Manager Mike Running says tomorrow the mission will be a bit different.
   The National Guard will have two Blackhawk helicopters in the air allowing the state police helicopter to return to Santa Fe.

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