Crash scenario to play out at airport Friday

Planes and personnel are at Chilliwack airport as part of an annual training exercise for 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron, 19 Wing Comox

Planes and personnel are at Chilliwack airport as part of an annual training exercise for 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron

Some familiar yellow aircraft were spotted in the skies over Chilliwack this week.

Two CC-15 Buffalo airplanes and two CH-149 Cormorant helicopters are part of a military exercise that will feature a mock airplane crash scenario at the Chilliwack Airport Friday morning.

More than 70 personnel from 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron, part of 19 Wing Comox, will be participating in SAREX 2014, the annual training exercise of 442, said Trevor Reid, public affairs officer with the 19 Wing.

“It takes a huge team effort,” Reid said about the three-day training exercise in Abbotsford and Chilliwack.

Part of the task involves transport of computers, communication equipment, aircraft parts and more to a site where the training is taking place, usually a remote location like the air tanker base in Abbotsford, as was the case this year.

“It takes a lot of coordination, as well as the training and practice required to undertake the transport and rescue operations.”

In the case of a search for a missing and downed airplane for example, the requirements are for all of the rescue aircraft to be fairly concentrated in the search area, which requires precision and planning, he said.

Friday’s simulated airplane crash will also see search and rescue technicians parachuting into the mock crash scene to help survivors. They’ll also be preparing the scenario’s injured participants for air transport to hospital.

Some local members of the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association, including local pilots and aviation enthusiasts, will also be on-scene during the exercise which wraps up on Friday, Reid added.

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