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19 Wing personnel, aircraft helped rescue stranded boater
The crew of an RCAF Buffalo search and rescue airplane joined personnel from the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Gordon Reid on Friday to rescue a boater who had been stranded since the previous night near Douglas Channel.
The boater, onboard a 28-foot aluminum vessel, reported to Coast Guard radio at 3 p.m. Thursday that he was experiencing mechanical difficulties, when communications with him were lost. A Buffalo airplane and Cormorant helicopter from 442 Squadron were launched from their base at 19 Wing Comox to join the Coast Guard in the search near Douglas Channel near Kitimat.
Despite unsuccessful search efforts Thursday evening that were hampered by winds of 50 to 70 km/h , 442 Squadron and the Coast Guard continued their efforts into the morning, searching the inlets and channels near the boater's last known position.
The crew of the Gordon Reid's Fast Response Craft (rigid hull inflatable boat) were first to spot the partially submerged boat at approximately 12:30 p.m. Shortly afterwards, crew on the Buffalo located the man on shore, thanks in part to the orange floater coat he was wearing.
"When we first sighted the individual, we thought we were looking at an orange gas can near a log," said Capt. Andrew Doepner, aircraft commander. "We flew over at 1000 feet and saw him waving to us in his orange jacket. He did everything right; he had the right clothing and called the right people."
After the Buffalo crew dropped smoke markers to indicate the stranded boater's position, Coast Guard members on the fast response craft picked up the man on shore. He was taken to Kitimat in good condition.
— 19 Wing Comox