by Eric Cline
The Northwestern Ontario Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA Thunder Bay) had a role in CHINTHEX 2019 – May 06 -10. For the second consecutive year 435SQN based in Winnipeg, MB held its spring training exercise (CHINTHEX) in Thunder Bay and area. NOASARA members had many unique opportunities to participate in various activities ranging from flying intercepts, spotting from one of many CC130 Hercules, and portraying casualties for the MAJAID. New and returning members alike were impressed with the variety of airborne taskings – spotting during an intercept, assisting a disabled boat, and spotting and assisting in the dropping of nine SARtechs and Rescue Jumpers for the MAJAID. Each event offered some new experiences and provided new and updated skills and tips. Participation in events such as this helps update skills and increase our interagency operability. Regrettably this year NOASARA was the only CASARA unit involved as many of the Prairie and Northern units found the travel time too long.
Also participating in the event were air and support crews from 435SQN (Winnipeg) with 2 CC130, 424SQN (Trenton) with 1 CC130, 439SQN (Bagottville) with a CH-146 Griffon, and from south of the border; USGC Traverse City MI with a JayHawk helicopter, USAF 39 Rescue SQN (Florida) with a C130 and 304 Rescue SQN (Portland Oregon) with para-rescue jumpers. Additional participation came from CF SkyHawks demonstration team, and Ornge.
Working alongside and around all these rescue professionals, many great connections were made and skills improved. This high profile event has also helped with member recruitment. NOASARA looks forward to working with these groups in the future.