Indiana Task Force 1 heading to Florida to help search for survivors at site of condo collapse


INDIANAPOLIS — Hoosiers are answering the call to help.  Indiana Task Force 1 is heading to Florida to search for survivors at the site of the condo collapse.

Nearly a week later and 145 people are still unaccounted for. Task Force 1 members are prepared for rescues and recoveries.

“It’s part of our job. We train for it and we hope the day never comes but it’s real but when you see the video you can only hope and pray,” said Tom Neal, Indiana Task Force 1 Program Manager.

Indiana Task Force 1 has been on standby since the condo collapsed in Surfside, Florida. Wednesday night, Indiana Task Force hit the road, ready to help.

“Us, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey so those four teams will go down there in anticipation of relieving those who have been working for several days now in the heat and humidity,” said Tom Neal, Indiana Task Force 1 Program Manager.

80 crew members will be on the mission.  The team is bringing heavy equipment to move and dig through the massive pile of rubble, looking for void spaces where a potential survivor may be trapped.

“If they think there waws a void space for them to look at and put a camera down there and start listening to hear a person that might be scratching knocking anything that would indicate life,” said Neal.

Part of the building is still intact which creates an even more dangerous situation. Structural engineers and logistic specialists will be on the site making sure crews are safe.

This is Jim Albin’s first deployment with Task Force 1.  He’s spent decades as a police officer and unfortunately has seen tragedies.

“A lot of people look at this situation and say what are the chances of rescuing someone? Probably not great but we can bring their loved ones back to them and that’s what’s most important,” said Jim Albin, logistic specialist with Task Force 1.

Five K-9’s are also being deployed.  The team is ready and hopeful.

Crew are keeping a close eye on a tropical storm that is brewing off the coast.  If the storm intensifies it could create issues for search efforts.

A typical mission for Task Force 1 is 7-10 days but the team will stay as long as their resources are needed.

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