The crews of an RCAF Griffon helicopter and Hercules aircraft assisted the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) with an early morning evacuation of an injured hiker from a deep crevasse 90 kilometres north of Sault Ste. Marie, on Friday, July 25th.
At 6:30 a.m. EDT, the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre, ON Trenton received a request from the Ontario Provincial Police in North Bay requesting federal assistance in the rescue.
“Local ground rescue teams had reached the hiker and assisted with signaling our aircrew but due to the hiker’s serious pelvic/back injuries, he could not be moved and a hoist extraction appeared to be the only solution,” said Major Marty Zimmer of Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Trenton.
With dusk approaching, a CH-146 Griffon helicopter from 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron from 8 Wing Trenton was tasked to proceed to the area to conduct, what was likely to be a night extraction. A Hercules aircraft from 424 Squadron was also launched to provide top cover and illumination with the use of night flares.
The Hercules was the first to arrive on scene and assess the situation.
“The patient’s condition was deteriorating, so the decision was made to have our Search and Rescue Technicians parachute into the area before nightfall to assist the ground crews with providing medical care to the casualty until the Griffon crew arrived,” said Maj Zimmer, who is Officer in Charge of Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Trenton.
The Griffon arrived on scene just after midnight, however after multiple attempts to initiate a hoist sequence, it was determined this could not be safely completed at night.
Search and Rescue technicians aboard the Griffon where then dropped off at the top of the ridge where they climbed down the crevasse to provide additional equipment and care until a daylight recovery was possible.
“Both the Herc and Griffon crews had reached the end of their crew day and went to ground in Sault Ste. Marie while four SAR Techs provided casualty care throughout the night,” said Maj Zimmer. “With the condition of the casualty further deteriorating, we called in our backup Herc and Griffon crews to facilitate a first light rescue.”
The backup Herc crew flew an additional Griffon crew to Sault Ste. Marie where they were able to take the Griffon and conduct a first light hoist at 07:00 a.m. this morning, successfully recovering the casualty and taking him to the hospital in Sault Ste. Marie.
• A CH-146 Griffon helicopter and two CC-130 Hercules were involved in the rescue
• These aircraft are from 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron based at 8 Wing Trenton
• The Hercules arrived on scene at approximately 8 p.m. the Griffon helicopter arrived on scene at approximately 12:30 midnight.
• The patient was a man in his early 50’s.
• The ravine where the rescue took place was in the Wawa, Ontario area.
• This was among one of the highest Griffon hoists in recent 424 Squadron history.