19 Wing Comox’s 442 rescue squad saves the day
August 29, 2011 ByCarey Fredericks
Aug. 29, 2011, Nitinat Narrows, B.C. - A CH-149 Cormorant helicopter from 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron was called to evacuate an injured patroller of the Ditidaht First Nation on the West Coast Trail last Wednesday afternoon.
At approximately 2 p.m., Parks Canada requested assistance to evacuate an injured trail patroller who had fallen in a remote portion of the West Coast Trail, north of the Nitinat Narrows.
In response, Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre Victoria sent a helicopter from 19 Wing Comox.
This was 442 Squadron’s second evacuation from the popular B.C. trail in three days.
“The patient was only a few meters into the forest, so we landed on the beach and our Search and Rescue Technicians (SAR Techs) walked into the area to meet up with the Parks Canada personnel,” said Capt. Jean Leroux, Aircraft Commander.
The SAR Techs who arrived on scene worked with the Parks Canada first responders to stabilize the patroller for transport.
“The Parks Canada personnel were very professional throughout; the patient was ready to go when we landed, and they did a great job of regularly checking his vitals,” said Sgt. Eric Dinn, SAR Tech.
Working together, SAR Techs and Parks Canada personnel carried the injured man across the beach to the helicopter. He was subsequently flown to Victoria General Hospital. His condition is unknown at this time.
Search and Rescue (SAR) incidents under the federal SAR mandate are defined as “all aircraft incidents and all marine incidents in waters under federal jurisdiction. With the exception of federally-owned National Parks, the overall responsibility for land and inland water search and rescue rests with the provinces, territories and municipalities. The Canadian Forces may, however, provide assistance to land and inland water rescues when possible."
The Cormorant crew included Capt. Jean Leroux, Aircraft Commander; Capt. Luc Coates, First Officer; Master Cpl. Dom Frenette, Flight Engineer; and Sgt. Eric Dinn, Master Cpl. Patrick Guitard and Master Cpl. Samuel Chenelle, Search and Rescue Technicians.