Historical Aircraft

424 Sqn – 413 Sqn – 439 Sqn – JRCC Trenton


With the true spirit of teamwork and cooperation, two lives were saved in a terrible plane crash in northern Quebec where four other lives were lost. In a joint effort involving four units; JRCC Trenton, 424, 439 and 413 Squadrons, the mission to rescue the two survivors in the harsh, austere, wooded environment 100 miles north of Bagotville was accomplished in a most professional and expeditious manner. The initial call came to JRCC Trenton on 16 July, 2010 at about 3:00 pm for an overdue DeHavilland DHC-2 Beaver with six persons on board. The aircraft had radioed that it was landing due to bad weather, but it was not heard from when the weather improved. The 424 Sqn CC130 Hercules and CH146 Griffon were initially tasked, and with the Hercules only 30 minutes from the search area, the crashed Beaver was spotted by another aircraft. A survivor was seen waving from the broken fuselage.The Hercules crew hastily prepared for a live parachute insertion of two SAR Techs, while JRCC requested further assistance from 439 and 413 Sqns as the crash was now confirmed with possibly 6 survivors, too many for the single Griffon from 424 Sqn to handle. At around 6:00 pm the two 424 Sqn SAR Techs parachuted into a rough landing zone 800 metres from the crash site with 20 knot winds. After a safe landing they made their way to the crash site where they could hear someone banging on the fuselage, and on arrival they were met by a 15 year old boy who appeared unhurt, but in shock. He led them to another survivor, his 59 year old uncle, who had severe burns, but was conscious. Confirming that the other four persons had perished in the crash, one of which was the boy’s father, the SAR Techs called for the helicopter extraction and set to work stabilizing the two patients, and preparing them for transport.By this time a Griffon from Bagotville was able to put together a crew and were expected to arrive at the crash site by 8:00 pm, with the Cormorant on scene about an hour later and the 424 Sqn Griffon two hours later. With enough helicopter assets capable of rescue, JRCC recalled the 424 Sqn CH146. The 439 Sqn Griffon arrived on scene and hoisted their two SAR Techs into the crash site to assist. After about one hour they extracted the two survivors and delivered the patients to a hospital in Chicoutimi but the helicopter did not have enough room for the 424 Sqn SAR Techs and their equipment. The Cormorant was tasked to recover the remaining SAR Techs and the deceased, along with the extra equipment and return them to Bagotville. Due to the severe conditions of the burn victim the 439 Sqn Griffon was subsequently tasked at around midnight to MEDEVAC him to the Burn Unit in Quebec City.All the crews completed long crew days to accomplish the mission, with the C130 crew having worked a full 18 hours. The dedication, commitment, and resourcefulness of the crews were exemplary. 439 Sqn had to piece together a crew from members on leave, and the Cormorant crew was assisting in a mission outside of their normal SAR Region. The fact that JRCC can call upon three different units who can work so easily together to accomplish one mission is a testament to the high level of training, proficiency and flexibility within all units of the National SAR System. This mission is a testament to the outstanding quality of the men and women that make up our SAR units, all extremely devoted to saving human life, reflecting the SAR Tech motto, “That Other’s May Live.”