WEB EXTRA: 19 Wing search and rescue technicians evacuate ill sailor

A sailor with a suspected illness was hoisted from a 180-foot commercial fishing vessel by an RCAF Search and Rescue crew.

A sailor with a suspected illness was hoisted from a 180-foot commercial fishing vessel by an RCAF Search and Rescue crew from 442 Squadron, 190 kilometres off Cape Scott, in the early morning of Sept. 11.

Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) Victoria received the call for help and requested a Cormorant helicopter to respond. The helicopter arrived over the vessel at approximately 2:45 a.m., while a Buffalo Search and Rescue airplane circled overhead dropping illumination parachute flares to aid in the hoist operation.

Two Search and Rescue Technicians (SAR Techs) were lowered onto the deck with a rescue basket where they met the patient who was already dressed in survival gear, prepared to be evacuated.

“Getting on board was a bit tricky, as we had to deal with a boat that was rising and falling in five- to 10-foot sea swells,” said Sgt. Shawn Harrison, a SAR Tech. “Once on board, we walked the patient to the basket, loaded him in and were hoisted off the deck within five minutes.”

The helicopter then flew back to 19 Wing Comox, where the patient was transferred into the care of BC Ambulance in stable condition and taken to the local hospital.

“We had good co-ordination between JRCC, the two aircraft crews and the fishing vessel, so it made the hoist go very smoothly,” said Capt. Blair Turner, First Officer of the Cormorant.

— 19 Wing Comox

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