HEARTLAND FLOOD: Offutt begins long road to recovery from flood

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. (WOWT) - The Secretary of the Air Force and a congressional delegation toured the flood damage at Offutt Air Force Base on Friday.

Some areas of the base were covered in 16 feet of water during the peak of the flood.

Officials said 30 buildings were impacted by the water, including the hangars, fuel storage and runway. Luckily, there were no injuries to any people on the base.

The water receded over the past week, but base operators said it will be months before everything is back up and running.

"We've already restarted our training operations here and maintenance operations here. As the waters recede, the base commander and his team are recovering the base. We also have assistance flying in from all over the United States to assist in the assessment of the damage and to begin reconstruction," Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson said.

Officials said 3,200 workers had to be relocated from the affected areas. Pilots were able to fly all of the planes out without them sustaining damage.

"All of the aircraft were either flown out or pulled to higher ground. A lot of the ground equipment was saved because they called in everybody in an all on hands effort," Wilson said.

Base officials were happy to have the help.

"There was nothing but positive attitudes, strong backs, strong shoulders as we fought the water," Base Commander Michael Manion said.

Buildings will continue to be inspected and some aircraft have already been able to return to base.

Officials said they will take another look at the existing levees and see what needs to be done in the future to prevent the significant flooding from happening again.