VANCOUVER – The pilot of a Cessna 185 floatplane was forced to make an emergency landing on a lake on Sunday after his engine suddenly stopped mid-flight.
With only seconds to make a decision, he was able to safely land his plane on Fourth Lake, about 40 km southwest of Nanaimo. From there he was able to float his aircraft to shore and trigger the emergency beacon.
“The pilot did many things right,” says Cpt. Will Livingston, Cormorant helicopter pilot, 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron. “He chose a flight path with many lakes on which he could land his floatplane if he got into trouble, he was skillfully able to land his airplane in an emergency situation and he was well equipped with a 406 beacon.”
Search and Rescue crews from the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron came to the pilot’s aid. The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Victoria picked up the emergency beacon when it was activated and a commercial aircraft in the area heard an emergency radio “pan” transmitted in the same location and alerted the JRCC.
When crews arrived at about 1 p.m. they spotted the plane intact. The Cormorant crew landed their helicopter in a clearing a short distance away and the pilot was met by Search and Rescue technicians. The uninjured pilot was flown to Nanaimo airport where he was reunited with his family.
“He [the Cessna pilot] did a great job,” says Sgt. Paul Moquin, Search and Rescue Technician, 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron. “He was flying at 4,500 feet and when his engine cut out, he didn’t have much time to decide what to do. He landed and then did the right thing by setting off his beacon and awaiting rescue.”
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