Garry Chalk ~ Ordeal in the Arctic

Gary is Jim, the Rescue 342 Pilot. Sel would like to thank William for capping these pics and sending them our way.

In 1991, a Canadian Hercules transport plane en route to CFB Alert crashed less than 10 miles from the military airport near the North Pole (the most northern settlement in the World) as a result of crew error in the landing approach. Due to extreme weather conditions, search and rescue could not land near the downed plane, and overland rescue vehicles were thwarted by a chasm between the base and crash site. Rescue jumpers also made several attempts, but could not see the ground with flares so had to wait as well. As a result, it took over 32 hours to rescue the survivors from sub-zero temperatures. Originally, 3 of the 18 passengers died on impact, 2 were severely injured and could not be moved to shelter, and the remainder tried to stay warm in the tail section with little clothing to protect them. The 26-year old female Doctor on board attempted to keep morale high during the ordeal, even though some were distraught and had serious injuries. She had no medical gear to treat the wounded. During the 32 hours, 2 more died from injury and cold, including the pilot, Capt. John Couch, who had braved the weather to tend to those left outside while giving up his own jacket to keep one of them warm. By the time of rescue, once the weather finally cleared, 5 of the 18 on board had died.

Thanks to D. Kyle & IMDB.COM for the synopsis.



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