MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The Grand Strand Civil Air Patrol, an auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is training to become another resource during missing swimmer situations.
"Myrtle Beach has suffered way too many drownings this year," said Major Doug Carter.
While it can take the Coast Guard a while to get a helicopter above the ocean to search for a drowning victim, CAP has a plane based at the Myrtle Beach International Airport.
"We're just half a mile from the shore right here and with the people locally, we can be in the air pretty quick," Major Carter said.
He said CAP plans to work with Horry and Georgetown Counties to start assisting with missing swimmer searches by next summer.
"They may be out there floating. They can be injured by a shark bite. You don't know," Major Carter said. "But with the waves crashing down, the rescuers have a hard time seeing them out there.
The squadron has trained for the past three years.
It has 35 members and is looking for more volunteers to expand further.
"It takes a good person to do it," Major Carter said. "Someone who has the passion for aviation and a passion for his fellow man."
He said the squadron has already helped with ground searches and they also sent back aerial images to FEMA during the October floods.
They're also trained to aid in evacuations.
CAP's senior leaders perform the search and rescue activities, but the organization also trains cadets to prepare them for the future.