442 Squadron evacuates injured tourist

A passenger board a tourist sightseeing boat was evacuated to hospital by an RCAF Cormorant helicopter Thursday afternoon.

An RCAF Cormorant Search and Rescue helicopter from 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron sits on the hospital helipad in Campbell River following a mission to evacuate an injured boat passenger Thursday.

A passenger on board a tourist sightseeing boat was evacuated from Orford Bay, B.C. to hospital by an RCAF Cormorant helicopter Thursday afternoon after she sustained injuries in a fall while the boat was at sea.

After receiving a call for help, Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Victoria requested the Cormorant from 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron, as well as a Canadian Coast Guard Ship to respond. The helicopter was the first to arrive above Orford Bay, near Bute Inlet, at approximately 1:30 p.m. where the 30-foot tourist boat had docked.

“We knew the patient was hurt and in pain, and we wanted to get our Search and Rescue Technicians (SAR Techs) on the ground as soon as possible,” said Capt. Luc Coates, aircraft commander. “We looked for a place to land but couldn’t find a location big enough that didn’t have obstacles and debris that could interfere with the helicopter, so we decided to hoist our SAR Techs in.”

After communicating with some people on the ground by radio, obstacles were cleared and the helicopter was able to safely land a short distance away. Meanwhile, the SAR Techs made their way to the boat and began preparing the patient for evacuation.

“We stabilized her, put her on a spineboard and stretcher and carried her to a pickup truck for transport to the waiting helicopter,” said Sgt. Kaulin Damron, SAR Tech.

Once on board the helicopter, the patient was flown direct to hospital in Campbell River. Her present condition is unknown.

— 19 Wing Comox

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