The Cormorant crew was first tasked by Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) Victoria to respond to a 25-foot sailboat that issued a distress call after its mooring line had broken near Nanoose Bay, B.C. The Cormorant departed its base at 19 Wing Comox at 7:40 p.m. and located the sailboat on rocks a short time later.
“We orbited on scene providing illumination and directed a boat from Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCM-SAR) 27 and Canadian Coast Guard vessel Cape Cockburn to the scene” said Captain Mike O’Brien, aircraft commander. The occupant was removed safely from the boat by members of RCM-SAR 27 who then returned him to Nanaimo.
Shortly after the Cormorant departed the scene in Nanoose Bay, JRCC Victoria received a report of two overdue canoeists somewhere between Yellow Point and Ladysmith B.C. The Cormorant crew began a shoreline search of the area and soon spotted the canoeists on shore.
“One of the men was waving his cellphone at us from the tree line near Coffin Point,” said Capt O’Brien “We found a good open area on the beach and landed there at 9 p.m.”
Search and Rescue Technicians on board the helicopter found the two middle-aged men wet and cold, but in stable condition, after their canoe had been swamped by high waves.
The men were subsequently flown to the Nanaimo Airport, arriving at 9:20 p.m.
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 Armed Forces may, however, provide assistance to land and inland water rescues when possible.