Air Force personnel used chains to strap down Southern California Edison trucks equipped for storm recovery inside C-17 Globemaster III jets Thursday morning in fog at March Air Reserve Base in Moreno Valley.
The utility trucks and their crews were scheduled to fly east to help restore power in the storm-ravaged northeast, where millions in multiple states were still without electricity and the storm's death toll as of noon Thursday rose to more than 35 in New York City alone.
The military jets and their cargo of Edison trucks were bound for Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, N.Y., about 60 miles north of Manhattan, Air Force and Edison officials at March ARB said.
As of 11 a.m. two cargo craft had departed from March and a third was expected to take off at 11:30 a.m., Air Force Master Sgt. Linda Welz said.
The Air Force was using C-17 Globemaster IIIs and Lockheed C-5s, the largest military aircraft in the world, Air Force and Edison officials said.
Southern California Edison personnel estimated at 120 were expected to fly separately Thursday night, Edison spokesman Raymond Hicks said as he watched one of the Globemaster IIIs being loaded.
A national mutual aid agreement among investor-owned utility companies is overseen by the Edison Electric Institute, which is not connected to Southern California Edison, utility spokesman David Song said.