RCAF Search and Rescue team shows off their skills in Ahousaht

By Rene Little, June 20, 2016

SAR techs with the Royal Canadian Air Force were lowered to front beach in Ahousaht by a Cormorant helicopter this morning.

Photos by Rene Little

Ahousaht — 

Updated: June 22, 2016 2:50 p.m.

The Ahousaht Search and Rescue Team invited the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) to the community June 20 to demonstrate some maneuvers for saving people in distress in a marine environment.  

And the RCAF brought with them a Cormorant helicopter and a Buffalo airplane from Comox.

The demonstration started at 10 a.m. at the front beach with the Cormorant lowering two SAR techs safely.

Major Justin Olsen, Officer in Charge of the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre – Victoria helped communicate the maneuver to keep the men being lowered and the people on the ground safe.

Next the Buffalo dropped water pumps to help a boat to stay afloat when in danger of sinking. The Cape Anne, the Coastguard vessel, sat in the waterfront as all this was happening.

Since the sinking of the Leviathan II last October, a whale watching boat that was struck by a rogue wave sending 27 passengers and crew into the cold waters off Plover Reefs, killing six,   it’s important that all rescue resources working on the west coast work with the Ahousaht First Nation since they are the ones who go out with their team when accidents happen, said Olsen.

Ahousaht fishermen were first on the scene of the Leviathan sinking and, with help from other boats from Ahousaht and Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, saved 21 people.

After the demonstration, the team took questions and stood for photos.

Ahousaht Chief Councillor Greg Louie and Ahousaht’s Search and Rescue Team presented their guests with gifts.