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

Taxing Vancouver Island

Big Read: find out which communities are paying the lowest and highest taxes on Vancouver Island

Y2K Spitfire comes home

Stocky Edwards guest of honour at banquet

Crown Isle acquires Longlands Golf Course

The Crown Isle Resort and Golf Community just got a little bit… Continue reading

Heliports certified at Comox Valley, Campbell River hospitals

Both sites should see heliports up and running by late summer

115 new wildfires burning across B.C. due to 19,000 lightning strikes

More fires expected to start today, says BC Wildfire Service officials

B.C. BMX kid wows GoPro with homemade video

Eight-year-old Rex Johnson wins award for inventive video

Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna suspended for 75 games

23-year-old pitcher faces assault charge

Vancouver Canucks tab Quinn Hughes with No. 7 overall pick in NHL draft

University of Michigan standout was second defenceman picked in first round

Gun, drugs and cash seized in arrest of alleged B.C. fentanyl dealer

Vancouver Island man Brent Connors is facing nine charges in relation to investigation

Jogger spent two weeks in U.S. detention centre after accidentally crossing B.C. border

Cedella Roman, 19, crossed the border while out for a run

PHOTOS: Police rescue baby seal found on rocky B.C. shoreline

Marina Mammal Rescue Centre recommends residents observe from a distance

B.C. woman with severely disabled son keeps getting parking tickets

‘There has to be something they could do’

Man brandishes axe during robbery

Mounties were able to locate the suspect within two hours of the incident

‘Creep off’ reporting system aims to track street harassment in Metro Vancouver

Text-based hotline launches to collect public reports on where and when harassment occurs

Most Read