Helicopters from the Coast Guard, the Department of Homeland Security and the Marion County Sheriff's Office out of Ocala have all sent helicopters to the Apalachicola Regional Airport to aid in rescue.

Airport Manager Andrew Hartman, with Centric Aviation, said he and fellow manager Tara Maugham have kept airport open around the clock, and was the only one open between Pensacola and Tallahassee until Defuniak Springs just opened its back up.

He said the Coast Guard used it to launch a rescue effort that saved eight people in Mexico Beach, hoisting them through the roof of a devastated house.

Homeland Security also has attached a hoist to its aircraft and went out at daybreak to began looking for those in need of rescue.

The Marion County copter picked up additional personnel in Leon County and headed to survey damage in Mexico Beach, and then to assist the Gulf County Sheriff's Office.

Hartman said the airport has about 4,000 gallons of jet fuel on hand, and with another 8,000-gallons on its way from Birmingham, Alabama. He said Apalachicola electrician Mike Cates is busy hooking up generators to the fuel farjm to ensure they will be able fill the fuel truck used to pump it into aircraft's tanks.