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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Planes And Parachutes Might Be Best Bet After 9.0 Earthquake

Austin Jenkins
Northwest News Network
In the event of a Cascadia subduction zone earthquake and coastal tsunami, Shelton, Washington, could become a key inland supply and operations hub.

Planes and parachutes might be the best bet for getting supplies to cut-off areas in the event of a subduction zone earthquake. National Guard pilots and paratroopers practiced supply drops and parachute jumps Thursday.

It was part of a multi-day disaster exercise called Cascadia Rising. For this drill they used big, twin-rotor Chinook helicopters rather than planes. They flew to the Shelton airport, which would be a key location for helping the Washington coast following a tsunami.

As the helicopters flew over, boxes of supplies attached to parachutes tumbled out the back and slowly drifted to the ground. Seven paratroopers jumped from another Chinook.

Captain Daniel Raymond from the Washington National Guard said roads and runways could be unusable after a major quake.

“In the Cascadia Subduction Zone actual rupture we’re planning that we won’t be able to get here by ground,” he said.

Cascadia Rising is described as the largest earthquake exercise in state history.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."