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In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, victims are finding creative ways of recovering from the devastation. 

Elisabeth Sherman
September 05, 2017

In Beaumont, a city that is still without water after Hurricane Harvey, two men knew they would have to take extreme measures to supply their fellow residents with water. So over the weekend, they headed to the Coca-Cola warehouse on the edge of town in a hovercraft and broke in. But these are no looters or criminals. The soda corporation gave the pair permission to conduct their heist.

Bill Zang and Sam Byers hacked the lock off the gate of the warehouse using a saw, and floated into the warehouse without a care—according to USA Today, at one point Byers declared, “This is so much fun!”

In Beaumont, the water treatment plant has been out of commission for two days, and the residents of the town were in desperate need of volunteers to aid the rescue and recovery efforts. Bill Zang, who owns Hovercraft Unlimited, drove down to Beaumont from his hometown of Rockport, Illinois, where he helped rescue and evacuate victims. At one point, Zang was able to rescue a man who was stuck on a highway, fighting a 15-mile an hour current. Zang picked him in up in his hovercraft and returned him to higher ground.

However, compared to that ordeal, loading up the craft with soda and water sitting unused, but much needed, in the Beaumont warehouse was likely a joyride.

A representative from the Coca-Cola Company let the Beaumont Fire Department know that the warehouse contained a stock of bottled water, but flooding prevented most vehicles from picking it up. That’s where Zang’s hovercraft came in handy. Byers and Zang found thousands of bottles of Fanta, Dr. Pepper, Coca-Cola and Dasani, which they loaded into the hovercraft. The beverages would eventually be delivered to the National Guard, who would distribute them to those in need.

Coca-Cola joins the many food and beverage companies, along with chefs and restaurants that are helping with the relief efforts.