Planes with supplies, medical help head from South Florida to Bahamas

Privately funded efforts help bring planes supplies to Bahamas

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Tropic Ocean Airways Chief Executive Officer Rob Ceravalo expects that his seaplanes will soon be assisting the Bahamian government.

"Everybody wants to come here and donate their stuff, which is wonderful, but right now we have nowhere to go with it," Ceravalo said. 

The goal is to look for locations where donations can securely arrive and be placed in the hands of those who need them, but the process is difficult and dangerous.

"What people don’t realize is we're very fortunate to live here in South Florida (where, if) we get hit by a hurricane, it's devastating for us but guess what? The roads are open by the next day," Ceravalo said. "The islands of the Bahamas are small islands that are spread out."

If for any reason the pilots can't land their planes, emergency kits provided by Blue Tide Marine will be dropped via parachute. 

"Inside this waterproof pelican case again is food, water, medical supplies. We can put satellite communications in there. We have 50 of these ready to go," Ceravalo said. 

At Tamiami Airport, a privately funded medical and search and rescue team boarded a plane headed to the Bahamas.

Celebrity chef Ingrid Hoffman raised the money to pay for this mission from private donations.

"I was able to get so much donations and save 2,000 lives in Puerto Rico, so that’s my motivation," Hoffman said.

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