New Boats Ready To Mobilize

The new boats have rubber sides and fiberglass bottoms. Harrison County inmates quickly got them ready to use. They spent the morning assembling the trailers that will haul the boats wherever flood waters endanger people.

"These will help us get into shallower waters like bad street flooding say for instance over in D'Iberville, across Tchoutacabouffa, the Henderson Point area where water comes up quick and it gets waist deep or deeper, these boats will help us get in there," says Harrison County Sheriff's Deputy Robbie Cox.

Harrison County Supervisors agreed to buy the boats. They say last week's evacuations of East Biloxi and Henderson Point proves the county needs more lifesaving resources.

"This is what we had in mind and we were concerned about the safety ya know. We had some problems gettin' into some flooded areas and we wanna make sure that that does not happen again," says District 3 Supervisor Marlin Ladner.

Those problems stood in the way of rescue crews that tried to get to Gary Englehorn. He suffered a heart attack during the height of Tropical Storm Isidore. High waters prevented help from reaching him. But the coroner says having the boats wouldn't have made a difference.

Coroner Gary Hargrove says, "What it would have done was aided us in getting there a little bit quicker but still it wouldn't have got us quick enough because of the weather conditions at the time. The outcome would have been the same because of the severity of the heart attack that did occur and no, having these boats would not have changed the outcome of this, unfortunately."

Each boat costs $10,000, including the motor and trailer.  They are made by a Maryland company and are used extensively by the military and law enforcement agencies.