Zone 1 Lethbridge had a great opportunity to simulate an airplane crash for a Search and Rescue C130 crew from 435 Squadron based out of Winnipeg. After several weeks of tentative planning we arranged for a parcel of land about 1 mile north of Diamond City where we could land a plane and set it up to look like an actual crash site as viewed from the air.
The scenario would be that a husband pilot and his wife were on a flight from the Nanton area to a local strip northeast of Lethbridge. Just as they were nearing the Old Man river a large flock of geese lifted off and the plane had a major bird strike which lead to the complete loss of the passenger side wing. The pilot suffered a broken neck and passed. His wife suffered many cuts, a fractured leg but was still able to move around. The ELT was set off on impact and immediately reported to a C130 crew that happened to be training in the Area.
So starting about 9 am we had Brian fly in his beautiful Avid Magnum and land in the 80 acre farm field. We folded up the passenger side wing and laid a white tarp to simulate the second wing several hundred feet away.
Move forward to 1500 hr, fake blood is applied, the deceased pilot is hanging against the seat belt after his wife had opened the door to check on him. His wife is limping around in shock, bleeding from her possibly broken left arm. She tried the airplane radio but it's not working. Soon a C130 appears overhead, she waves an emergency blanket she has found and it is quickly apparent she has been seen. The C130 circles several times dropping altitude, ribbons are dropped to check the wind and on the next pass a radio is dropped, landing about 30 feet behind the plane. As the conversation between the aircrew and the wounded wife proceeds it is determined that SarTechs should jump and render 1st aid.
Very soon 2 SarTechs parachute down and begin to assess her injuries. The SarTechs have her lay down and soon treat her bleeding arm wound. As this is happening one of the SarTechs confirms the husband is deceased and returns to the injured lady. They check her vital signs and administer an IV. They proceed to bind her legs together believing her left leg is broken. They put her in a neck brace and prepare her for transport by ground teams that are about 10 minutes away.
Naturally, this was all about training and one of CASARA's principal roles is to be of service to the Search and Rescue team from our Canadian Military. During exercises of this type it helps our CASARA volunteers to witness and see the hands on experience and training that SarTech teams must be prepared to do in actual crash circumstances. These exercise help SarTech crews maintain the highest level of proficiency and readiness. CASARA volunteers also gain a deeper understanding into what may be experienced at an accident scene and most importantly what the injured person might be experiencing.
A big thank you to Arnie Bergen-Henengouwen for allowing us to use his property, to Tijana Martin from the Lethbridge Herald and to Sarolta Sakiw of Global News for their great coverage of the event, to Rob Boras and Alison Herman from Zone 1 for playing our accident victims and to Brian from Zone 1 for the use of his plane.
I would also like to thank the C130 crew, SarTechs, Mcpl Carl Portman and Mcpl Donovan Ball, Capt Kevin Coulombe for organizing the event and lastly all of the rest of Zone 1 Lethbridge who were present and helped create the scene. Wes, Al, MJ and Brian from Zone 1 also had the opportunity to ride the C130 and were on board throughout this exercise.
Zone 1 Lethbridge
Our next ground school course will be in January and the second one will be in July. You are more than welcome to visit us at any of our exercises to see if joining us is something you would like to do. Please check our calendar for our next SAREX.