August 12, 2013 10:43 am

Fisherman rescued by RCAF Cormorant helicopter crew west of Port Hardy

An RCAF Search and Rescue Technician (left) and Flight Engineer observe a boat from the rescue door of a CH-149 Cormorant helicopter during a medevac of a fisherman experiencing possible medical distress, Sunday evening, August 11.

Sgt Andrew MacKenzie, 442 Squadron

A Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) crew was called out to rescue a commercial fisherman on Sunday night.

The fisherman was about 80 nautical miles west of Port Hardy when air controllers at the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Victoria received a call that he may be experiencing a possible medical condition, and needed to be evacuated to hospital.

The Cormorant crew from 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron took off from their base at 19 Wing Comox and was on scene at just before 5 p.m.

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“We talked to the ship and got the crew to clear a spot on the deck so that we could lower our Search and Rescue Technician (SAR Tech) safely,” said Captain Pierre Faucher, aircraft commander. “Fishing vessels are always challenging to lower SAR Techs onto because of the masts, antennas and rigging on board.”

However, they were able to lower a member on to the deck to help the man.

“It was a small area to hoist onto,” said Master Corporal Giles Bagley, SAR Tech. “I went down quick, put a sling around the man for the sake of speed, and with perfect timing, the F.E. got us back on board the helicopter in no time.”

The helicopter then flew to Port Hardy and the man was transferred in stable condition to B.C. Ambulance for transport to hospital.

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.

© Shaw Media, 2013

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