Quesnel residents were buzzed by a military craft on Tuesday, Jan. 25, as a CC-130 Hercules Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) search and rescue crews trained in the area.
The large, black plane was seen flying low around Quesnel, as crews parachuted out of it.
Captain Christine MacNeil, the public affairs officer for 19 Wing Comox, said the 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron based out of Winnipeg was conducting mountain familiarization training, open water training, as well as pilot and flight engineer upgrade training.
“As the Royal Canadian Air Force SAR crews can be called into any terrain, in any weather, and at any time of day, it is important that their training never become routine,” she said in an email.
“Therefore they train in different landscapes, different altitudes, all types of weather, and to ever-changing scenarios. As a result, RCAF SAR crews are highly trained specialists who stand ready to respond at a moment’s notice.”
The Hercules is being used as a search and rescue airplane in Victoria while the newly acquired fleet of CC-295 Kingfishers are prepared for full-time service. The CC-115 Buffalo search and rescue aircraft flew its final flight for 19 Wing Comox on Jan. 15.
Aircraft from the 435 will be based out of 19 Wing Comox throughout the summer, and help provide coverage during “periods of low operational tempo.”
“Therefore, it is important that the SAR crews increase their training and experience on the west coast,” MacNeil wrote.
After multiple crew members parachuted out of the CC-130, the plane landed at Quesnel’s airport, drawing a crowd of curious onlookers.
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