The 19 Explosive Disposal Flight’s Rigid-hulled inflatable boat recover Search and Rescue technicians after their water jump during a 442 Squadron Search and Rescue Exercise in Tofino on Feb. 27, 2018. Photo by Cpl. Joey Beaudin

Real-life SAR exercises on the west coast for Canadian Armed Forces

It was all for practice, but members of 19 Wing Comox’s 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron invaded the west coast of Vancouver Island last week as part of the squadron’s annual training.

From Feb. 26 to March 1, members participated in SAREX 18 – the squadron’s annual exercise, which varies the location annually, but aims to practise in areas which are frequented by the squadron for actual search and rescue operations.

The exercise involved approximately 70 personnel from the squadron, two CC-115 Buffalo fixed-wing aircraft, two CH-149 Cormorant helicopters and one CC-130H Hercules.

“One of the benefits of conducting SAREX is that it provides us the opportunity to train and build working relationships with our SAR partners, those professionals and volunteers in communities across B.C. that are trained and always ready to respond when people find themselves in trouble,” explained Capt. Adam Kusch, exercise director.

442 Squadron is responsible for search and rescue for all of B.C. and the Yukon, and about 600 kilometres offshore in the Pacific Ocean.

435 Transport and Rescue Squadron – also a 19 Wing unit but based in Winnipeg – also participated with the addition of a CC-130H Hercules and crew.

Numerous training scenarios during the day and night were based on actual events, including a vessel in distress taking on water that required a pump, dropped by air from a Buffalo (which becomes a joint response involving the Canadian Coast Guard), an injured windsurfer stranded on a remote beach, and passengers and crew of an overturned vessel in the water.

In addition to military SAR personnel, the exercise included partners from the RCMP, coast guard, Parks Canada, BC Parks, RCM SAR, Civil Air Search and Rescue Association, and the Tofino Airport Authority.


Search and Rescue Technicians carry a stretcher to the CH149 Cormorant during a 442 Squadron Search and Rescue Exercise in Tofino on Feb. 28, 2018. Photo by Cpl. Joey Beaudin

Just Posted

Dead rabbits found at Comox Valley Exhibition Grounds stoke concerns about Nanaimo virus

A B.C. wildlife veterinarian says a few of the dead bunnies will be sent for diagnosis next week.

Courtenay-Comox MLA talks water bottling business in Merville

Ronna-Rae Leonard remained neutral when asked if she opposes the proposed business

Pickleball courts to be built at Highland Park

Courtenay Rotary announces project Wednesday

UPDATE: Arrest made in north Courtenay shooting incident

Police have arrested one man in relation to a shooting north of… Continue reading

Vancouver Island’s Best Videos of the Week

A look at some of the best video stories from the past week ending March 16, 2018

Salmon Arm community cheers on Natalie Wilkie as she wins first gold medal

Local skier tops the podium in 7.5km race at the PyeongChang Paralympics

Experts: Society has a role in trying to prevent domestic violence

Experts are speaking out following the murder of a woman and her son in Ontario

Northern lights chasers in Canada discover new type named ‘Steve’

Phenomenon linked to a powerful current created by charged particles in Earth’s upper atmosphere

Progress on fixing Phoenix pay system backlog could be short-lived: Ottawa

Feds have said they won’t try to recover money overpaid until all outstanding issues are fixed

Washington state backs B.C. in pipeline dispute

Governor Jay Inslee says he is ‘allied’ with the province on Trans Mountain expansion projection

SAY WHAT? Readers weigh in on high-speed rail to U.S.

B.C. to contribute $300,000 to a million-dollar business study on the proposed project

B.C.-based CEO charged with conspiring to sell unhackable phones to criminals

Vincent Ramos of Richmond, was arrested last week in Seattle in years-long undercover operation

Public meeting planned to discuss protection of Union Bay’s drinking water

Newly formed Union Bay Watershed Protection Society to host meeting March 19

Most Read