Chintex 2019 focused on sharing and developing existing skills and provided opportunities to broaden 435 Squadron’s range of experience. Several units were invited to participate, promoting interoperability with SAR partners, including: 439 Combat Support Squadron, from 3 Wing Bagotville, Québec, which was represented by a crew with a CH-146 Griffon configured for SAR operations; the 304th Rescue Squadron (US Air Force), from Portland, Oregon, added a section of pararescue jumpers; a crew and C-130 Hercules came in from the 39th Rescue Squadron, located at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida; and a US Coast Guard crew participated with a MH-60T Jay Hawk helicopter from Traverse City, Michigan.
Key training included locating search objects, parachuting for accuracy, marine rescues and hoisting with helicopters. The exercise culminated with a simulated major air disaster (MAJAID), with participants responding to a report of a commercial aircraft, with 18 passengers and two crew onboard, going missing. Fixed-wing search aircraft with SAR technicians and rescue jumpers on board located the scene of the crash scenario – a clear strip of land in the forest near Geraldton, east of Thunder Bay. SAR techs and rescue jumpers parachuted to the scene to provide medical care to the injured, bundles of additional medical supplies were dropped by parachute and, while rescuers managed the scene, helicopters began arriving to evacuate role-players with realistic looking injuries.
435 Squadron noted that the exercise was extremely successful and expressed its appreciation of the contribution made by all the participants, which also included Confederation College’s Aviation Centre of Excellence, the Thunder Bay International Airport Authority, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA) and Ornge Helicopters (air ambulance).