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Texas Task Force 1, the Urban Search and Rescue response team headquartered at Texas A&M, has arrived in New York City and will start assisting in rescue efforts Wednesday (Sept. 18) at the World Trade Center.

The 62-member team consists of rescue experts, hazardous material specialists, structural engineers, canine search teams and medical personnel who will help locate survivors of the terrorist attack that occurred Sept. 11. The team is administered by The Texas A&M University System’s Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX).

The task force left Austin-Bergstrom International Airport at 3:30 p.m. Monday(Sept. 17) aboard two Air Force C-141s and arrived at McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey at 8:15 p.m. EST. The team spent the night at Fort Dix in New Jersey and will visit the World Trade Center site today before starting work Wednesday morning.

The team will be split in half and work 12-hour alternate shifts. While part of the team is working at the World Trade Center, the other half of the team will be resting.

“Given the incident facing us, the only good thing I can say is that the two cities best prepared to handle such an event are New York City and Washington, D.C.,” said G. Kemble Bennett, TEEX director and director of the task force.

The team was last deployed to help find survivors and victims of the tornadoes that struck Ft. Worth earlier this year. Created in 1997 over concerns following the Oklahoma City bombing, the team only recently became one of the 28 federal search and rescue teams nationwide. It is also one of only six teams trained to deal with weapons of mass destruction. The team originally was to be sent to help with rescue efforts at the Pentagon but was later reassigned to New York City. The team may remain active up to 10 days.

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