Daring sea rescue southwest of Sandspit

  • Dec. 21, 2011 5:00 a.m.

A daring sea evacuation on Wednesday Dec. 7 rescued a sailor 370 kilometres southwest of Sandspit.A Cormorant helicopter and Buffalo fixed-wing airplane were dispatched from 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron in Comox after a log freighter travelling off Sandspit called for help because a crew member suffered a severe leg injury. The helicopter reached the ship at 5:30 pm and two search and rescue technicians were lowered onto the deck, while the Buffalo circled and dropped flares.”The ship was moving up and down with the 7-8 meter seas swells, and due to the logs on the main deck, we were only able to use the small area at the stern of the ship to lower our SAR Techs aboard,” said Flight Engineer Sergeant Carl Schouten, “because of the antennae mast and support cables, we had to lower them from 65 feet.”The SAR Techs stabilized the patient, hoisted him on the helicopter, which flew to Sandspit where he was transferred to the Buffalo and then flown to Comox. The patient was transferred to BC Ambulance staff in stable condition.”It was a total team effort, in terms of personnel and aircraft,” said Lt.-Col. Jonathon Bouchard, Commanding Officer of 442 Squadron and also aircraft commander of the Cormorant, “long range rescues like this can be challenging, but we used both the Cormorant and the Buffalo to their best capabilities.”

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