Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Victoria received a call for assistance from Duncan RCMP after local Ground Search and Rescue was unable to locate the pair. The 442 Squadron helicopter took off from 19 Wing Comox at 1:00 a.m. on Sunday morning, and was soon circling over the search area.
“One of the hikers had a cellphone so we called him to determine their location,” said Captain Jean Leroux, aircraft commander. “He was able to spot our lights and he used them to guide us to where they were.”
With the helicopter hovering near a tall cliff, Search and Rescue Technicians and the Flight Engineer worked together to hoist the pair into the helicopter before low clouds could move in.
Once safely on board, the crew flew the hikers to a nearby sports field where they were transferred to a waiting BC Ambulance in stable condition.
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.