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442 Squadron to the rescue — again

Three kayakers, stranded on a steep rocky shoreline, were hoisted to safety by a Cormorant helicopter crew from 442 Squadron on the evening of June 19.

The three kayakers had been paddling the shoreline near Estevan Point when one of their boats rolled in choppy waters. When the other members of the group came to the aid, one of the kayaks was severely damaged on the rocks.

The three kayakers managed to get to shore and climbed up a slope away from the tidal zone. A passing boater spotted the men, but was unable to help due to the rocks; however, this boater reported the situation to Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre (JRCC) in Victoria.

At 4:15 p.m. the JRCC requested a Cormorant helicopter from 19 Wing Comox to evacuate the kayakers. The helicopter arrived overhead at 5:20 p.m.

“As we flew in, we did a quick assessment of the area and realized there would be no place to land, so we hoisted down our Search and Rescue Technicians (SAR Techs) to get the kayakers out,” said Capt. Jean Leroux, aircraft commander. “It was clear that they had no other means of getting off the rocks safely.”

One by one, the SAR Techs hoisted the men into the hovering helicopter.

“They had all of the proper kayaking and safety gear with them,” said Sgt. Steph Clavette, SAR Tech. “It was just bad luck that they rolled and then smashed a boat while helping their friend.”

All three men were uninjured and were flown back to their campsite near Espinosa Inlet.

— 442 Squadron

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