Civil Air Search and Rescue Association - Manitoba

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Zone 1-Winnipeg
Zone 2-Brandon
Zone 3-The Pas
Zone 5-Manitoba

SAR Recluse 20070908

Search and rescue of two American adventurers in the Manitoba north.

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Northern Manitoba Air Search Finds Overdue Canoeists

Two Canoeists Last Seen August 24, 2007 and Due in Churchill September 1, 2007 Found by Civil Air Search and Rescue Aircraft in Joint Mission with RCMP and Manitoba Conservation

Churchill, MB, September 7, 2007:

Two overdue canoeists from Washington State, USA, were found alive on the Deer River in Northern Manitoba. Last seen on Recluse Lake along the Little Churchill River, the husband and wife told a Winnipeg canoeist they expected to arrive in Churchill via the Churchill River on September 1, 2007 to return by train back to The Pas. The Winnipeg canoeist gave all of his remaining food supply to the couple. When the couple did not pick up their vehicle as arranged in The Pas, RCMP notified the Civilian Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA).

On the request of Gillam RCMP Sergeant Scott McMurchy and Churchill Corporal Jeff Asmundson, a CASARA aircraft arrived to join the search on September 6, 2007. RCMP and Manitoba Conservation executed the search by helicopter on the Little Churchill River from the last known position on Recluse Lake. The search expanded using an RCMP Pilatus PC 12 and a Manitoba Conservation Twin Otter aircraft. The CASARA aircraft team of pilot Kevin Choy, navigator Ken Fox and spotter Fred Eshpeter continued the mission northward up the Churchill River to Churchill on a shore-line crawl and night search.

Based on experience, Sergeant McMurchy and Corporal Asmundson suggested the canoeists may have portaged from the Little Churchill River to the Deer River to possibly link up with the train at M’Clintock Station 103 kilometers south of Churchill. Flying south from Churchill the CASARA aircraft simultaneously searched the area between the railroad and the Deer River at 800 feet above ground. At 4:46PM local on September 7, 2007 spotter Fred Eshpeter saw what appeared to be the canoe on the Deer River 83 kilometers direct from Churchill. The CASARA aircraft circled to relay to the canoeists that they were seen and the canoeists signaled from shore back to the CASARA aircraft. The CASARA aircraft radioed their position to the helicopter searching along Churchill River. The helicopter then recovered the couple back to Churchill.

“This mission’s success is an exemplary example of joint cooperation with the RCMP and Manitoba Conservation,” said Choy. “With their local knowledge and CASARA training, the overdue couple was found alive in spite of deteriorating weather and lack of resources.”

The Civil Air Search and Rescue Association of Manitoba is a civilian, volunteer, non-profit association dedicated in searching for crew and passengers of lost aircraft and others who may require such assistance. The CASARA fleet of light aircraft remains ready for independent and coordinated searches with both the RCMP, military and other tasking agencies.

For More Information About CASARA Contact:

Kevin A. Choy


CASARA Manitoba

204 724-4811


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Last modified: December 21, 2009 
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