RCAF rescues eight people adrift on ice floe

January 14, 2015
Jan. 14, 2015, Trenton, Ont. - The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) rescued eight men adrift on an ice floe near Coral Harbour, Nunavut. The group went adrift on Jan. 9, which initiated a local rescue effort.

On Jan. 10, Nunavut Emergency Measures Organization requested assistance from the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) in Trenton, Ont., as the floe was drifting beyond the local community's reach. The rescue was completed on Jan. 11 with all men being airlifted to Coral Harbour.

The group of men was well-prepared for the elements and had a SPOT beacon, which regularly transmitted their location.

The first RCAF aircraft on scene was a CC-130 Hercules from 435 Squadron at 17 Wing Winnipeg, Man. It arrived at 5:30 p.m. EST on Jan. 10 and dropped radios, survival equipment, rations, water, and life rafts as a precautionary measure.

The men were rescued on the morning of Jan. 11 by a CH-149 Cormorant helicopter from 413 Squadron at 14 Wing Greenwood, N.S., and were returned safely to Coral Harbour.

At the time of rescue, the group was approximately 55 km (about 34 miles) south of Coral Harbour and about 27 km (around 17 miles) from the nearest shoreline.

Also involved in the effort were additional CH-149 crewmembers from 103 Squadron at 9 Wing Gander, N.L., and a second CC-130 Hercules from 413 Squadron at 14 Wing Greenwood used to transport the additional crew.

In Canada, search-and-rescue (SAR) is a shared responsibility among federal, provincial/territorial and municipal organizations, as well as air, ground and maritime volunteer SAR organizations.

"This case shows how preparedness greatly increases the chance for survival. It was a great cooperative effort between local volunteer rescue groups, the territorial emergency Measures organization, and the Canadian Armed Forces. We're glad to see a happy conclusion to this mission," said Maj. Vince Meunier, Officer in Charge of JRCC Trenton.

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