Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence


October 29, 2006 20:50 ET

Canadian Forces Assists in Large Western-Canada Rescue

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 29, 2006) - The Canadian Forces joined in a large-scale rescue operation today in Northern British Columbia and Alberta to help evacuate 40 forestry workers who were stranded by a snowstorm.

At the request of the B.C. Government, the Air Force deployed several aircraft to the B.C./Alta. border region of Tumbler Ridge - Sherman Meadows, B.C. The forestry workers were in the region since Friday October 27 conducting Pine Beatle surveys and had been stranded by over four feet of snow without proper equipment and supplies.

Poor weather conditions prevented military and civilian aircraft from entering the area until earlier today. As the weather cleared, civilian helicopters on location were able to extract the scattered workers to safety. Some of the workers who experienced hypothermia or frostbite were taken to hospital.

The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) in Victoria, B.C., coordinated Canadian Forces assets in that province, while JRCC Trenton, Ont., provided coordination of assets in Alberta. Air Force assets tasked to this incident included: a CC-115 Buffalo aircraft and CH-149 Cormorant helicopter from 19 Wing Comox; two CH-146 Griffon helicopters from 4 Wing Cold Lake and 408 Squadron in Edmonton; and a CC-130 Hercules from 17 Wing Winnipeg.

"I'm pleased to see that a rescue of this magnitude had a happy ending and I'm glad the Air Force was ready and able to help," said Major-General Charlie Bouchard, Commander of 1 Canadian Air Division/Canadian NORAD Region Headquarters. "It takes a great deal of coordination to incorporate aircraft from so many locations and organizations. This was a great effort by all involved."

The CC-115 Buffalo aircraft provided aerial surveillance and assisted in relaying communications between rescue helicopters; while the CC-130 Hercules acted as on-scene commander. A CH-146 Griffon helicopter from 4 Wing Cold Lake also transported a civilian rescuer who stayed behind to make room in his helicopter for some of the stranded workers.

NOTE TO EDITORS - For further information, please contact Lieutenant Steve Neta, 1 Canadian Air Division/Canadian NORAD Region Public Affairs Officer at 204-833-2500 ext 2029 or 204-291-8942.

Contact Information