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19 Wing Comox Cormorant crew helped to rescue hiker
Members of 442 Squadron and the Canadian Coast Guard worked together to evacuate an injured hiker who had fallen down a 30-foot shoreline embankment Saturday.
Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre Victoria dispatched Canadian Coast Guard Ship Bartlett and a Cormorant helicopter from 19 Wing Comox to Sombrio Point, 15 kilometres south of Port Renfrew, after local emergency health services were unable to reach the hiker, who was stranded in a rocky tidal area.
Personnel from CCGS Bartlett’s fast response craft arrived on scene at 8:30 p.m. and were able to stabilize the patient before the Cormorant arrived overhead.
“Due to the multitude of lights in the nearby campground, it was hard to find the scene, but the Coast Guard helped direct us to the exact spot by radio,” said Capt. Luc Coates, aircraft commander.
Once over the patient, the aircrew had to work carefully to get the Search and Rescue Technicians (SAR Techs) on the ground.
“We couldn’t get too low to the surface due to the tall trees and steep embankment,” said MCpl. Chris Buglar, flight engineer and hoist operator. “We had to hoist the SAR Techs down 160 feet, which is close to our maximum cable length.”
The hoist operation was quick, thanks to the Coast Guard personnel who had already loaded the patient onto a litter. The helicopter then flew to Victoria General Hospital, where the patient was transferred in stable condition.
Search and Rescue 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.
— 19 Wing Comox