North Shore Rescue was tasked by The RCMP and BC Coroners Service Aug 19th to recovery the body of a young pilot from the wreckage of a light plane that had crashed into rugged terrain north of the top of the Indian Arm. Three survivors had been rescued by CAF 442 Squadron the previous evening.
Ten members and two Talon helicopters were involved in this operation which required extensive preplanning and equipment application to ensure a safe recovery due to fuel concerns and marginal weather conditions. As we could not see the actual crash site this required an extensive preplan with backup resources and manpower. The operation was launched from our new SAR Station at GVRD Bone Creek in the Seymour Valley.
NSR member Erik Bjarnson who is also a North Vancouver City Firefighter was deployed with special vehicle extrication equipment and protective equipment on loan via North Vancouver City Fire Dept. Special thanks to Assistant Chief Bob Schriner for authorizing this equipment loan.
Due to the weather concerns a full forward operating kit, a suitcase VHF radio and MSAT and portable power and medical equipment were deployed also
Once on scene via a hover exit myself and fellow member Dave Sulina approached the aircraft and confirmed the need for a full response. As we assessed the aircraft and hazards, team members Curtis Jones and Mike Danks were hover exited with chains saws to clear a path through heavy slash from the aircraft to an evac point.
Meanwhile Dave and I had a hooligan extrication tool with us and Dave was quickly able to pop off the door so we could accurately assess the situation which luckily for us was not as complicated as we originally thought.
I was able to radio out using my ICOM F70 with an extendable 2M antenna and communicate on our Mt Cathedral Repeater 5by 5 to my fellow SAR MGR Al McMordie who was coordinating the operations with Squamish RCMP Sgt .Peter Cross from Bone Creek. We quickly adjusted our plan due to excellent communications so as to stage the bulk of the resources and extrication equipment at a lower staging and expedite the recovery ( using our “portable human hoist”- Curtis Jones) out of the aircraft and conduct a quick sling recovery due to worsening weather conditions.
Once again excellent flying by Talon Pilot Brian Douglas on the close hover exits and sling operations under marginal flying conditions.
This operation demanded extensive preplanning, flexible adjustments and sound communications to be successful.
Great work to all my team members and the pilots of Talon Helicopters.