Sioux City search crews give insight into the challenges facing - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Sioux City search crews give insight into the challenges facing Omaha team


Omaha, Nebraska authorities say the mission to find the victims of an animal feed plant explosion has changed from rescue to recovery.

However, they're having difficulty getting to victims, because of the damage done to the inside of the building.

After the explosion, the building collapsed, trapping many of the victims.  That made it hard to get to people.

At this point, they believe everyone who survived the blast has made it out.

However, there were still victims inside who did not survive the blast.

In an emergency every second counts, but Sioux City's Urban Search and Rescue team manager says precautions are put in place to keep the search team safe too.

“You just can't go rushing up to the side of the building if it's not structurally safe, and then you have to start looking at what type of search you're going to do,” said Captain Mike McClennen, Urban Search and Rescue Team Manager.

Options for finding victims can be as simple as walking through the site and listening for people calling out, to using cameras to get into crevices and unstable areas without putting the rescue unit in danger.

Technology is helping in other ways, too.

"With cell phones in this day in age, you know a lot of times people will be trapped and won't be actually calling out with their cell phones saying that they are trapped, so you actually do know you have victims in there. Twenty years ago you would just be assuming you have people in the building,” explained McClennen.

It's the kind of thing that Sioux City's Urban Search and Rescue team prepares for, but hopes they never have to respond to.

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