424 Transport and Rescue Squadron assists boaters on Lake Ontario

News Article / June 6, 2018

The crew of a Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) CH-146 Griffon helicopter from 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron in Trenton, Ontario, worked with members of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary to help two sailors make it to shore after their vessel began taking on water off Presqu’ile Point on Lake Ontario on June 3, 2018.

The Griffon helicopter was launched after Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Trenton received a 911 call indicating that a sail boat was taking on water and was trying to make shore. The Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary (CCGA) from Brighton arrived on scene first and was joined by the 424 Squadron helicopter shortly thereafter. Despite high winds and low ceilings, the Griffon crew was able to transport two search and rescue technicians to a nearby location. The search and rescue technicians subsequently swam to the vessel and aided in the operation of an emergency pump to stabilize the 27-foot sailing vessel. The RCAF and CCGA crews were also joined by Canadian Coast Guard Cutter Cape Mercy.

Once stabilized, the CCGA crew was able to take the vessel under tow to the safety of a local marina near Brighton, Ontario.

“The CH-146 crew was challenged by low visibility, high winds and rain during the operation, but RCAF search and rescue crews are well-trained to handle such conditions," said Lieutenant-Colonel Leighton James, commanding officer of 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron.

RCAF search and rescue aircraft are equipped with a variety of emergency lifesaving equipment, including high capacity bailing pumps to assist with keeping disabled vessels afloat to enable rescues.

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 SAR rests with the provinces, territories and municipalities. The Canadian Armed Forces may, however, provide assistance to land and inland water rescues when requested.”

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