Over 1,500 miles away from home, New York City police officers and firefighters conducting hurricane rescue operations in Puerto Rico paid their respects to those who lost their lives on September 11th, 2001 on Monday morning.
The group, part of the Special Operations division consisting of police officer and firefighters specialized in search and rescue — and known as New York Task Force-1 — was in Puerto Rico to help with rescue efforts following Hurricane Irma's path of destruction through the Caribbean islands.
Two weeks ago, they were in Texas to help with those affected by Hurricane Harvey. And now, on the 16th anniversary of 9/11, the group found itself on another hurricane-related rescue mission.
The group has been deployed to numerous natural disasters, including conducting rescue operations after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
A Twitter account belonging to the NYPD Special Operations Division tweeted the photos on Monday morning, showing the elite rescue group on the beaches of San Juan. "While deployed to the #Irma rescue efforts in Puerto Rico the members of NY-TF1 remember the heros lost on September 11th. #NeverForget," the caption to the photos read.
The officers could be seen in formation on a beach, and in later pictures, with a chaplain, their heads bowed in prayer and remembrance.
New York Task Force-1 is part of a broader nation-wide urban search and rescue response team, designed to deploy within hours of a natural disaster or emergency situation.
They are one of 28 such teams throughout the country. In 2010, they famously rescued a 7-year-old boy trapped in rubble after an earthquake struck Haiti, his hands outstretched and a large smile on his face.
Talal Ansari is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. His secure PGP fingerprint is 4FEE 894C 8088 7E08 E170 A515 2801 7CC6 95D3 11C2
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