Arctic Rescue – Aerial Search and Rescue – FWSAR – November 2009
SAR Techs Shine in Ice Floe Rescue but Questions also Raised
Update 2011: since this story broke, Canada has signed the Arctic Council Agreement on SAR Cooperation. Also, the FWSAR Statement of Operational Requirements has
been revised and an Industry Day announced to investigate contracted ASD options.
The dramatic rescue of 17 year old Inuit hunter, Jupi Angootealuk, has drawn public attention to the
aerial search and rescue capabilities of the Canadian Forces once again. The press release from 17 Wing Winnipeg
( reproduced below ) rightly celebrates the achievement of SAR Techs. No one questions the skill or bravery
of people willing to parachute on to ice floes to effect a rescue. But, as usual, the PAffO leaves questions
unanswered while glossing over contributions by non-military people.
Lead SAR Tech, Sergeant Randy McOrmond, praises residents of Coral Harbour, NU, who joined the search saying
that their efforts were "invaluable" to the search. PAffO, Captain Jeff Noel, also acknowledges that the SAR
Techs who jumped to rescue Jupi Angootealuk were, in turn, picked up by locals in a small boat.
Originally, Capt. Noel made no mention of the key role played by a Twin Otter chartered from Kenn Borek.
In a revised press release, it was acknowledged that the "search [ had ] included assistance from an aircraft operated
by Kenn Borek Air" but this was after media reports had made clear that the youth was originally spotted on the
ice floe by Phil Amos who circled to drop supplies and to try to drive young polar bears away. 
The reason that Kenn Borek's Twin Otter was first on the scene is simple. This airline flies
scheduled services out of Iqaluit – 725 km east of Coral Harbour, the home of the young Inuit
hunter. In contrast, the 435 Sqn Hercules was dispatched from Winnipeg, 1,790 km to the south. Quite
sensibly, Nunavut arranges to lease a local civilian aircraft for SAR. So why does
DND insist on basing FWSAR at bases skirting the US border?
Other questions have arisen in the press about how the CF equips itself for aerial SAR including the lack of infrared
sensors and why CF SAR helicopters are not stationed in the North. CASR
will address these and other questions
in a separate In Detail article.
 Such charters are arranged by Nunavut's Department of Community and Govern- ment
Services' Protection Services branch which is responsible for Territorial SAR.
 Phil Amos believes that Mr. Angootealuk resisted the urge to wave at the circling aircraft "because the
bears were so close". Reports at the scene also conflict with the press release contention that the hunter was
"... unresponsive due to hypothermia ...".
The 17 Wing Press Release on the rescue of Jupi Angootealuk is reproduced below.
Daring rescue saves teen stranded on Arctic ice floe
Nov. 10, 2009
By Captain Jeff Noel Wing Public Affairs Officer [ commonly referred to as PAffO ]
17 WING WINNIPEG, Man. – A young hunter stranded on an ice floe at the entrance to the Northwest
Passage is alive and recovering thanks to the efforts of 'Rescue 341', a CC-130 Hercules aircraft and
crew from 435 'Chinthe' Transport and Rescue Squad- ron based at 17 Wing Winnipeg that carried
out his dramatic rescue.
The Winnipeg crew was dispatched by the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) located at 8 Wing Trenton
[Ontario] early Monday morning [09 Nov 2009] to assist with the rescue of the young hunter near Coral
Crew members aboard the CC-130 Hercules [s/n 130341] were assisted in their search by two members
of the local community who joined the 435 Sqn search crew when the aircraft stopped at Coral Harbour to take on
"Their assistance was invaluable to our search effort," said Sgt. Randy McOrmond, Search and
Rescue technician ( SAR Tech ) Team Lead on the mission. "They knew exactly where we should look
and that was a key factor to our success," he said.
When the search team located the young hunter on the ice, all efforts to attract his attention proved fruitless. As
a result, Sgt. McOrmond, and fellow SAR Techs Master Corporal [MCpl] Rob Richardson and Master Corporal Eric Beaudoin
parachuted onto an adjacent ice floe and then crawled across the slushy ice to him.
"It was a novel experience but it is something we train for," said MCpl Richardson. 
[The SAR Techs quickly made the assessment that ] although the young hunter was conscious, he was unresponsive due
to hypothermia and frostbite.
While on the ice floe, SAR Techs administered initial assistance to their young patient while they waited to be
picked up by members of the local community who threaded their way by boat through dangerous ice and ferried
all to safety at Coral Harbour.
Upon arrival at Coral Harbour, the young hunter was taken to the local medical clinic where it was determined that
he needed to be airlifted to Churchill, Man [over 830 km to the South] for further treatment.
Once again, the crew of ' Rescue 341 ' provided assistance and delivered the young hunter to medical
authorities in Churchill.
 Indeed, the introduction to SAR Tech training gives as its first example of duties, the possibility of
"Parachuting at night into the high arctic to save a stranded Inuit."