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WWII-era plane to deliver aid to Bahamas

'Miss Montana' carries backpacks with supplies

(CNN) - Aid is pouring into the Bahamas as the relief effort after Hurricane Dorian ramps up.

Some of that aid will be coming via a special World War II-era plane from Montana.

The C-47 plane, known as Miss Montana, left the state on Saturday for its trip down south. It stopped in Florida and sometime on Monday it will leave Fort Lauderdale to deliver the first of load of meals for Bahamians in need, according to CNN affiliate KECI. Volunteer pilots hope to deliver 40,000 meals per day to the island nation, which was hammered by Hurricane Dorian.

The volunteers had originally planned to make delivery runs for two weeks but will stay longer if needed.

"To work to help others; what a great calling it is," said Eric Komberec, one of the pilots flying the plane down to the Bahamas. "The airplane it made for it. It's the perfect airplane for it."

Backpacks full of aid

About $5,000 in donations have also helped the volunteers fill up backpacks with supplies that will be delivered via Miss Montana. In those backpacks will be many things Hurricane survivors are in desperate need of, like toothbrushes.

"People are moving from shelter to shelter and school to school or wherever they can sleep, and it gives them something to be able to put their stuff in to take," volunteer Tia Komberec told KECI.

Hurricane Dorian decimated much of Grand Gahamas and Abaco Islands in the northern Bahamas. The official death toll from the storm remains at 50, but officials warn the number will almost certainly rise.

The plane's long history

The plane is housed at the Museum of Mountain Flying in Missoula, Montana. The museum offered to donate the plane's services and cargo capability for the hurricane relief effort, according to the volunteer group's Facebook post, as a tribute of sorts to the pilots who flew during the Berlin Airlift seven decades ago.

The Miss Montana was built near the end of the war. It didn't fly during World War II, as the war ended before it was completed, a website run by the volunteers who helped restore the plane says. For years the plane transported firefighters and smokejumpers who battled forest fires in Montana.

Earlier this year, Miss Montana flew to Europe to take part in the festivities commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day.


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