CFB Comox personnel extricate trio injured in plane crash
Canadian Forces Search and Rescue personnel from 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron responded to a small plane crash 130 kilometres southwest of Williams Lake on Sunday morning.
The Cessna 210 failed to give a routine radio check-in (known as a flight tracker system) to the Cariboo Fire Centre at approximately 9:30 a.m. After a search for the plane by local aircraft, Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre Victoria dispatched a CC-115 Buffalo from 19 Wing Comox to the Big Creek Provincial Park region. The aircraft arrived on scene at approximately 1 p.m.
The crew of the Buffalo homed in on the downed plane’s Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) and two Search and Rescue Technicians (SAR techs) parachuted into the wind-swept area. Once on the ground, they met up with a civilian helicopter already searching for the plane. The SAR Techs and civilian helicopter arrived near the crash scene to provide medical help to the four people who were on board the aircraft.
Three of the less severely injured people were evacuated on the private helicopter, while the most seriously injured person was evacuated on a 442 Squadron Cormorant helicopter. All were taken to hospital in Williams Lake in stable condition.
“The jump was challenging due to the high winds and turbulence,” said lead SAR Tech Sergeant Dave Knubley. “Once on the ground, we stabilized the most seriously injured person, loaded him onto a litter and prepared the landing zone for the Cormorant with flares.”
Winds on the surface were over 40 kilometers per hour, demanding the pilots’ skill and attention while landing.
Aircraft commander of the Buffalo, Capt. John Edwards, noted that this rescue highlights the importance of having proper safety and lifesaving systems on board aircraft. “The ELT, the flight tracking system and a schedule were all keys to survival in this case,” said Capt Edwards.
The medical condition of those evacuated is unknown at this time. A team from the Transportation Safety Board will investigate the cause of the incident.
— 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron