19 Wing personnel helped evacuate two hikers from Strathcona Park

RCAF Search and Rescue crews helped ground search and rescue crews Wednesday to evacuate two hikers from Strathcona Park.

RCAF Search and Rescue crews from 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron provided assistance to Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue (GSAR) crews Wednesday to evacuate two hikers in Strathcona Park.

Support from 442 Squadron was requested Tuesday morning by RCMP and GSAR through Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Victoria, to aid in their search of the two men who had been reported missing on Monday.

University of Victoria student Christopher Yao, 31, and Jean-Simon Lessard, 22, who works at CFB Esquimalt, left Friday and were scheduled to return Sunday.

While GSAR crews worked hard to cover the search area from the ground throughout the operation, the Cormorant helicopter crew assisted the teams by providing aerial search capabilities and transport for GSAR members throughout the park’s challenging terrain.

Thick cloud and fog in the area posed challenges to the air search and transport efforts throughout Tuesday morning and again when another crew launched Tuesday evening. However, Wednesday morning at approximately 9:30 a.m., the crew was informed that GSAR members had found the two men safe in a tent, approximately six kilometres west of Mount Washington.

“We departed our staging area at the Raven Lodge search headquarters and headed for the coordinates GSAR members had given us,” said Captain Mike O’Brien, aircraft commander. “We did a confined area landing near a sparsely treed ridgeline at an altitude of 5,000 feet.”

Once on the ground, at approximately 10 a.m., RCAF Search and Rescue Technicians loaded the two men and four members of the Comox Valley GSAR team on board the helicopter and returned them to 19 Wing Comox.

“The hikers had good equipment and knew what they were doing,” said Master Corporal Samuel Chenelle-Pepin. “They had been in a tent and had heard the helicopter circling the previous day.  They eventually heard the GSAR whistles and were able to meet them.  They were both in good spirits when we brought them back.”

More than 30 people and 14 teams from Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue, CFB Comox and Comox Valley RCMP had searched for Yao and Lessard, who had a tent.

Paul Berry, search manager for CVGSAR, said heavy snow and thick fog made the search difficult for air and ground crews.

Mount Albert Edward, at 2,093 metres, is the sixth highest peak on Vancouver Island. It is located in Strathcona Provincial Park.

— 19 Wing Comox

Just Posted

Two Courtenay Habitat for Humanity families receive keys to new homes

Lake Trail Road project officially has residents

Preparations ongoing for Courtenay’s annual Earl Naswell Community Christmas Dinner

The doors of the Florence Filberg Centre, downtown Courtenay, will open again… Continue reading

Valley woman found guilty on three charges following 2016 collision in Courtenay

The woman involved in a trial for a multi-vehicle collision in which… Continue reading

High winds force several BC Ferries sailing cancellations

Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay, Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay, and Duke Point to Tsawwassen among closures

Swiss juniors train in Comox Valley

The Swiss national junior hockey team is training at the Comox Valley… Continue reading

Man dies after falling from B.C. bridge

Intoxicated man climbed railing, lost his balance and fell into the water below

B.C. animation team the ‘heart’ of new ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

The animators, largely based in Vancouver, ultimately came up with a creative technique that is drawing praise

Light at the end of the tunnel for UN climate talks

Meeting in Katowice was meant to finalize how countries report their emissions of greenhouses gases

Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame

Radiohead, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will also be ushered in at the 34th induction ceremony

Supreme Court affirms privacy rights for Canadians who share a computer

Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians against unreasonable search and seizure

‘I practically begged’: Kootenay woman with breast cancer denied referral to Calgary

Breast cancer patient left to fight disease alone after being denied referral to Calgary

21 detained before Paris protests as police deploy in force

There was a strong police presence outside the central Saint Lazare train station, where police in riot gear checked bags

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

Most Read