MV Prinsendam Rescue

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A Voyageur helicopter from 442 Search and Rescue Squadron
Comox BC
lowers a Para Rescue Tech into the lifeboat.

The Story

On 4 October, 1980, 442 Squadron participated in an operation that gained it the international attention it still enjoys today. When the liner Princendam caught fire in the Gulf of Alaska, the 442 Squadron's Labradors and Buffalo were quick to react. The second Labrador on scene was commanded by Captain Gary Flath. Under Gary's guidance, the crew of "Rescue 303" hoisted 16 passengers from a lifeboat and transported them to the oil tanker MV Williamsburg. The Labrador crew repeated the operation three times before being forced to return to Yakutat, Alaska, for fuel. When they landed, their fuel gauges read empty; at the end of the runway their engine flamed out. The squadron was awarded the Chief of Defence Staff Unit Commendation for outstanding devotion to duty.