Search and rescue crews from 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron, flying a Cormorant helicopter and Buffalo search and rescue airplane, responded to two separate medical emergencies June 15.
The first call for help was received from an 890-foot container ship 50 miles west of Haida Gwaii Islands, reporting that a crew member was in medical distress. A Cormorant and Buffalo were dispatched to the ship by Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Victoria.
The Buffalo arrived overhead at 9:30 a.m. and gave the crew instructions for preparing the deck to receive Search and Rescue Technicians (SAR Techs).
“The weather was pretty bad with high winds,” said Capt. Peter Wright, first officer on the Cormorant. “We picked our way carefully out of the clouds; the deck was covered with trailers so we hoisted the two SAR Techs to a spot near the bridge.”
The crew member was stabilized, put into a rescue basket and hoisted back on board.
The patient was then flown to Prince Rupert and transferred to the BC Ambulance Service, in stable condition, for transport to hospital.
On the return flight to Comox, the Buffalo was tasked to help a patient suffering from a medical emergency at a remote research station on Hecate Island, near Fitz Hugh Sound. Given the severity of the patient’s condition, SAR Techs parachuted from the Buffalo onto a beach near the station.
“Although this case did not fall within our normal air/marine search and rescue mandate, we had the skills and the tools to get there,” said Sgt. Nic Meunier, SAR Tech.
Once on the ground, the SAR Techs stabilized the patient until a BC Air Ambulance could arrive to evacuate the patient to hospital.
— 442 Squadron