Private jet heads to Haiti with doctors, supplies

MANATEE -- A private Gulfstream jet filled with medical supplies, accompanied by two doctors, a nurse and a medical assistant, flew out of Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport this afternoon bound for Haiti.

"It's just grown and grown," said Ken Sanborn, who contributed the aircraft and helped seek donations of medical supplies.

"It's important for the kids to understand you can make a difference," Sanborn said of Out-of-Door Academy students who raised more than $5,000 toward the relief effort and helped load the plane.

So many supplies were collected, essentially over the holiday weekend, that a second flight will be required to ferry them to Haiti. The aircraft can handle 4,000 pounds of cargo.

Ben Vessey, pilot of the jet, said he wasn't sure what to expect when landing at Port-au-Prince. Even in normal times, the airport can present challenges to aircraft crews, he said.

The nurse, Jenny Koselak of Terra Ceia, said she has helped in other relief efforts, including recovery from hurricanes Andrew and Katrina.

"I've been trying to get to Haiti since the earthquake. I can't wait to get started," she said.

David Mahler, ODA's head master, said news of the mercy mission has brought more offers of help from those who want to contribute supplies or help on the ground in Haiti.

He said ODA hopes to take part in a sustained effort to aid the recovery.

Related stories from Bradenton Herald