19 Wing helicopter crew overcomes fog, darkness to rescue injured hiker

The crew of an RCAF Cormorant helicopter assisted BC Ambulance with the nighttime evacuation of an injured hiker from Mount Wells, north of Victoria, on Jan. 16.

The hiker injured a leg while hiking that afternoon. His hiking partner called 911 and BC Ambulance and firefighters responded.

Due to the deteriorating weather conditions and with daylight gone, a call was made to Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Victoria to request assistance from 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron, based at 19 Wing Comox.

"The wind was blowing about 30 km/h, so it made the rescue a bit bumpy," said Capt. Aaron Noble, the commander of a responding CH-149 Cormorant helicopter from 442 Squadron. "However, the biggest challenge was the fog that rolled in and stuck in places along the peak, reducing our visibility.

"As we got close, we popped up through a cloud layer and saw the reflective jackets and lights of the first responders already on scene. We tried to land, but the wind was blowing us and we didn't have a lot of room on the ground."

The helicopter arrived on scene at approximately 6:40 p.m. The crew decided to hoist their two Search and Rescue Technicians 25 feet into the scene. Once on the ground, they placed the patient into a rescue litter and he was hoisted into the helicopter.

The patient was a man in his late 60s. Once on board, the patient was flown to Victoria General Hospital and transferred in stable condition.

— 19 Wing Comox


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