US citizens' flight out of Haiti chartered by DeSantis touches down in Florida

A flight chartered by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis transporting U.S. citizens out of Haiti has touched down in the United States.

The rescue flight landed in Orlando, Florida, late on Wednesday, bringing home 14 passengers who were stranded on the island amid increasing violence.

“We are willing to dedicate the resources, we understand this is important, we understand that there’s people that are really in danger right now that are our fellow Floridians,” DeSantis said of the operation during a press conference, according to Politico.

US ORGANIZING AMERICAN EVACUATIONS FROM HAITI BY HELICOPTER AS NUMBER OF THOSE SEEKING HELP NEARLY DOUBLES

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the Orlando Sanford International Airport. DeSantis was at the airport to announce the arrival of a flight later in the day with 14 U.S. citizens who were being transported out of Haiti. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Approximately 500 Americans — 360 of whom are Floridians — have contacted the state government about evacuating the island, according to local outlet ABC10.

The governor stated that flights are being provided for U.S. citizens free of charge.

“We are picking people up at their front door, getting them into a plane, getting them to this airport and getting them back to their front door in Florida — that’s what we’re committed to doing,” said Florida Emergency Management Executive Director Kevin Guthrie, according to the report.

US EVACUATES FIRST AMERICAN CITIZENS FROM PORT-AU-PRINCE AS HAITI CRISIS DEEPENS

People walk past a damaged car in the Carrefour Feuilles neighborhood, which was deserted due to gang violence, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Tuesday, March 19. (Reuters/Ralph Tedy Erol/TPX Images of the Day)

The number of Americans who have filled out a form on the U.S. State Department’s website seeking assistance in Haiti is “approaching 1,600,” according to State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel.

Amid the chaos in Haiti, DeSantis has directed the state National Guard and law enforcement to protect the southern coast and stop illicit vessels traversing the sea into the U.S. from Haiti.

“For quite some time, the state of Florida has been dedicating significant resources to combat illegal vessels coming to Florida from countries such as Haiti,” DeSantis announced last week.

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A parent, carrying his child after picking him up from school, runs past police carrying out an operation against gangs in the Bel-Air area of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

He continued, “Given the circumstances in Haiti, I have directed the Division of Emergency Management, the Florida State Guard, and state law enforcement agencies to deploy over 250 additional officers and soldiers and over a dozen air and sea craft to the southern coast of Florida to protect our state.”

The U.S. response efforts come after weeks of gang violence that has sent Haiti spiraling into chaos. Armed gangs launched a new wave of attacks in Port-au-Prince’s suburbs early Wednesday, with heavy gunfire echoing across once-peaceful communities near the Haitian capital.

The attacks came two days after gangs went on a rampage through the upscale neighborhoods of Laboule and Thomassin in Pétion-Ville, with at least a dozen people killed. The violence forced the closure of banks, schools and businesses across Pétion-Ville, which until now had been largely spared from the attacks that gangs launched on Feb. 29.

Fox News Digital’s Greg Norman and Bradford Betz contributed to this report.

Timothy Nerozzi is a writer for Fox News Digital. You can follow him on Twitter @timothynerozzi and can email him at [email protected]

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