Search and Rescue crews from the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron conducted a medical evacuation of a sick passenger from a cruise ship on Sunday, May 25, 2014.

Quick Facts

  • A CH-149 Cormorant helicopter and CC-115 Buffalo airplane were launched to take part in the mission.
  • The medical evacuation took place from the cruise ship Norwegian Jewel, 35 kilometres from Brooks Peninsula, off the west coast of Vancouver Island.
  • The cruise ship’s medical officer requested the evacuation of the patient who was in medical distress.
  • Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Victoria tasked the 442 Squadron Buffalo and Cormorant crews to conduct the mission at approximately 6 a.m. Sunday morning, May 25.photo 3
  • The Buffalo arrived over the cruise ship first and established radio communication. The search and rescue crew gave instructions to the ship’s crew on how to prepare the ship for the Cormorant’s arrival.
  • The patient was an elderly American male suffering from a medical condition that required care not available on board the ship.
  • The cruise ship was bound for Alaska.
  • Two Search and Rescue Technicians were lowered 30 feet to the deck of the ship in 37km/h winds in order to take the patient on board the helicopter.
  • The patient was transferred to B.C. Ambulance upon the Cormorant’s arrival in Port Hardy, B.C. shortly after 12 p.m.

The patient was in stable condition upon transfer to B.C. Ambulance.
The Buffalo launched from 19 Wing Comox, while the Cormorant flew from the Canadian Coast Guard station at Shoal Point, where it had been staging in support of the 71st Swiftsure yacht race.

442 Transport and Rescue Squadron Cormorant and Buffalo aircraft are JRCC Victoria’s primary means for aviation SAR responses in the Victoria Search and Rescue Region (SRR). The Victoria SRR includes 920,000 square kilometres of mainly mountainous terrain in British Columbia and the Yukon, extending approximately 600 nautical miles (965 kilometres) offshore into the Pacific Ocean.

-Contributed by 19 wing Comox