Following yesterday’s devastating earthquake in Haiti, the Icelandic government decided to send the country’s International Crisis Response Unit, the members of which are specially trained in wreckage search and rescue. They will be among the first foreign teams to arrive.
All 37 international team members were called to the ICESAR (Iceland Search and Rescue) headquarters last night and were sent away again to prepare around midnight. They took off at around 10.00 GMT this morning.
The team’s equipment weighs ten tonnes, as well as three tonnes of water, high tech telecommunications equipment and water purification equipment. The equipment the team land with will allow them to work for a whole week without any outside assistance at all.
Luckily, an Icelandair jet was scheduled to be lying idle at Keflavik International Airport today, but was instead prepared for the long haul flight to Haiti, Visir.is reports.
The team received final confirmation in the early hours of the morning after the Haitian government formally accepted Iceland’s offer of help.
After taking off at 10.00, the plane is scheduled to land at Boston in the USA to take on additional fuel and cargo before heading on to Haiti.
It is still not known whether or not the main airport in Haiti is in service following the quake; but if it is not, the plane will land in the Dominican Republic, with the final leg of the journey across the land border taken by road.