RCAF Search and Rescue crews from 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron provided assistance to Provincial Ground Search and Rescue (GSAR) crews early Monday morning, September 23, to evacuate a man who had fallen while hiking Mount Arrowsmith, Saturday afternoon.
Rescue coordinators at Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Victoria launched a Cormorant helicopter from 19 Wing Comox after they received a call for assistance from RCMP to assist in the rescue of the man who had sustained injuries at an elevation of approximately 4100 feet.
Poor weather in the area frustrated several attempts by the 442 Squadron crews throughout Saturday evening, as thick clouds clung to the mountain. After orbiting the area and making several approach attempts, crews were forced to turn back to Comox, as GSAR crews continued to carefully bring the injured middle-aged man to lower elevations.
On Sunday evening, with weather improving, Cormorant helicopter and Buffalo airplane crews were launched to the area for another rescue attempt. Crews on board the Buffalo dropped flares throughout the night to aid in the rescue efforts.
“We were orbiting in and out of clouds, and despite the flares that GSAR members were launching, we still couldn’t see them,” said Captain Mike O’Brien, Cormorant aircraft commander. “We went back to Comox to refuel and then flew to a landing zone near a ravine that GSAR had set up for us.”
As the weather finally broke, the helicopter crew landed the large aircraft in a confined area along a road and after a short time the GSAR members arrived by vehicle with the injured man, transferring him to the Cormorant crew.
“The first responders with the GSAR crews had already applied first aid to the patient, so we continued to treat him on the way to hospital in Nanaimo,” said Sergeant Guy St-Denis, Search and Rescue Technician.
The man was transferred to hospital in stable condition at 5:25 a.m., Monday morning. His present condition is unknown.
— 19 Wing Comox