The crew of the Cormorant helicopter took off from their base at 19 Wing Comox at 6:00 p.m. after Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Victoria received a call for help from the “Rook”, indicating that one of their crew had suffered a potentially serious injury while performing maintenance. Despite low clouds and poor visibility, the aircraft arrived over the ship at approximately 7:00 p.m., as it rolled in 20 ft waves and almost 50 km/h winds.
“We communicated a lot as a crew to determine the best place to hoist the Search and Rescue Technicians (SAR Techs) on board,” said Captain Luc Coates, aircraft commander. “We decided to hover over the centre of the ship, taking care to avoid the cranes and guide wires, as we hoisted them to the deck.”
Once on the ship, the SAR Techs moved to treat the injured crewman. “The ship’s crew had already applied some first aid, so it was a matter of further stabilizing the patient,” said Sergeant Shawn Harrison, SAR Tech. The crewman was later put into a rescue basket and hoisted into the helicopter.
Once the patient was on board, he was flown to the Canadian Coast Guard station at Shoal Point, Victoria, where he was transferred to B.C. Ambulance for transport to local hospital. The current condition of the patient is unknown.
Search and Rescue (SAR) incidents under the federal SAR mandate are defined as “all aircraft incidents and all marine incidents in waters under federal jurisdiction. With the exception of federally owned National Parks, the overall responsibility for land and inland water search and rescue rests with the provinces, territories and municipalities. The Canadian Forces may, however, provide assistance to land and inland water rescues when possible.