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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - March 13, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta March 13, 1tT4 THE LETHMIDQI HERALD 41 Rescue service has nightmares over jumbo jet crash OTTAWA (CP) A recurring nightmare in Canada's search-and-rescu1? establishment is the possibility of a large aircraft with hundreds of passengers on board crashing in the frozen north or in the ocean. Officials say the problems involved in finding a downed aircraft with perhaps 400 persons on board in time to save lives in an environment that makes life support difficult at best are tremendous. They console themselves that the chances of such a crash are remote and that emergency procedures have been designed to get help as soon as possible. The concern was raised last week by Maj.-Gen. W. K. Carr, chief of armed forces air services, in an interview. He said modifications are being made to the search-and- rescue air fleet which will make the aircraft more effective and which will cost some millions. "I'm not trying to scare said Gen. Carr, in charge of the forces' rescue co-ordination facilities across the country. I've crossed the Atlantic many times and you always think about it crashing." Gen. Carr said possible crashes of jumbo jets have been a matter of international concern for years. For Canada that concern related to responsibility for rescue work over land and over the western North Atlantic and a piece of the Pacific. The general said emergency plans for such an eventuality, include keeping two giant Hercules transports on 24- hour standby at Edmonton and Trenton, Ont. Within minutes of news that a jumbo or any other aircraft is in trouble, these planes, equipped with arctic survival gear and para-rescue teams, could be in the air. The 1st Airborne Regiment of Edmonton could send troops on one plane to drop para-rescue teams. A tent city could be constructed at the crash site. In the case of an ocean crash Argus coastal patrol aircraft could drop a string of inflatable rafts, complete with survival equipment. While worrying about such major crashes, officials say they are unlikely. Most airline crashes happen near airports. Officials add there generally is good warning of an airliner in trouble and rescue planes can be in the air rapidly as soon as trouble is suspected. But still the problem of find- ing a crashed or DC-8, all of which fly over the Cana- dian north at present, is one that keeps officials thinking. It would take hours for the Hercules to get to the north and much early searching would be by civilian resources. The two Hercules will be added to the 17 planes that make up the permanent fleet of the search-and-rescue establishment. All planes in the fleet are getting new equipment as the forces seek to improve their search capability. Under the program the entire forces' fleet of 23 Hercules and 13 Twin Otters along with the planes and helicopters reserved for search and rescue will get new locator equipment. This equipment is to be in place by June 1. By that date the transport ministry will re- quire all aircraft to carry emergency locator transmitters which send out a radio beacon following a crash. The modification program also calls for alterations to search-and-rescue's Hercules, Buffaloes and Twin Otter's to aid in visual searching. The long-suffering crews of the six Buffaloes will get gal- leys and toilets to make long flights more bearable. Officials could not put a price tag on the alterations but they said it will amount to some millions. Meanwhile, except for the addition of two Hercules, there are no plans to increase the size of the rescue service. Gen. Carr said that, while he would always like more equipment, he can get along with what he has. He said the rescue service had a success rate of about 95 per cent last year. He said in big searches the service calls on the resources of the forces and civilian agencies and many aircraft can be put into the air. To back that statement, service officiate say during the search for Norman Hartwell in the Northwest Territories last year 19 civilian and military planes were up on one day. However other military sources say they feel 19 planes is a ridiculously small number to conduct search and rescue throughout Canada, including parts of two oceans and the four-million square-mile n'-rth. Find the plane Search and rescue officials released these photographs in Ottawa to show the difficulty in spotting a downed air- craft. The plane, which went down in Manitoba, killing all on board, is in the middle of the first picture, as proven by the blowup shown in the second picture. Sears mes Sears that's pur low price for a great spring coat They re here! Our new collection of spring coats. 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