Chinthex 2019 – SAR operations exercise

News Article / May 28, 2019

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From 19 Wing Public Affairs

435 Transport and Rescue Squadron’s Chinthex 2019 provided an opportunity for all members of the squadron to develop their skills in supporting search and rescue (SAR) operations. The squadron is located at 19 Wing, Comox, British Columbia, but the week-long exercise was held near Thunder Bay, Ontario, from May 6 to 10, 2019.

A diverse set of units with similar roles was invited to participate, adding depth to the training value of the exercise and promoting interoperability with SAR partners. 439 Combat Support Squadron, from 3 Wing Bagotville, Québec, was represented by a crew with a CH-146 Griffon configured for SAR operations; the 304th Rescue Squadron (United States Air Force), from Portland, Oregon, added a section of para-rescue jumpers; a crew and a C-130 Hercules came in from the 39TH Rescue Squadron, located at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida; and a United States Coast Guard crew participated with a MH-60T Jay Hawk helicopter from Traverse City, Michigan.

Chinthex 2019 focused on sharing and developing existing skills, and provided opportunities to broaden 435 Squadron’s range of experience. Key training included locating search objects, parachuting for accuracy, marine rescues, and hoisting with helicopters.

The exercise culminated with a simulated major air disaster (MAJAID), with participants responding to a report of a commercial aircraft, with 18 passengers and two crew on board, going missing. Fixed-wing search aircraft with SAR technicians and rescue jumpers on board located the scene of the crash scenario—a clear strip of land in the forest near Geraldton, east of Thunder Bay. SAR techs and rescue jumpers parachuted to the scene to provide medical care to the injured, bundles of additional medical supplies were dropped by parachute and, while rescuers managed the scene, helicopters began arriving to evacuate role-players with realistic looking injuries.

The success of the exercise can be attributed to detailed planning, basing scenarios on actual incidents from the past, and tremendous support from numerous agencies. 435 Squadron appreciates the contribution made by all participants, which also included Confederation College’s Aviation Centre of Excellence, the Thunder Bay International Airport Authority, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA) and Ornge Helicopters (air ambulance). 


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