The body of Sergeant Mark Salesse, search and rescue technician (SAR), with the Canadian Armed Forces was recovered in Banff National Park yesterday.
Sgt Salesse, an experienced SAR Tech was conducting routine mountain training with a team of other 435 Squadron SAR Techs in an area known as Polar Circus when he was swept away by an avalanche.
“I was deeply saddened to receive confirmation of the tragic death of Sergeant Mark Salesse. This accident is a stark reminder of the very real dangers that our brave men and women in uniform face daily to defend our country and keep Canadians safe,” said Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Search and rescue at 435 Squadron is a 24 hour-a-day, seven day-a-week responsibility.
The Squadron has been a major contributor to the campaign against terrorism, with many personnel deploying overseas to Camp Mirage in the Arabian Gulf region to conduct airlift activities in support of deployed Canadian and Allied forces.
One CC-130 Hercules aircraft is permanently equipped and dedicated for search and rescue missions. During working hours on weekdays, the search and rescue standby aircraft and crew are ready to respond within 30 minutes of being notified. At all other times, the response time is extended to two hours.
Each year, 435 Squadron crews fly thousands of hours. Squadron airlift missions include re-supply of Canadian Forces Station Alert on Ellesmere Island in the high Arctic, the Northern-most human habitation in the world, and missions across the country and around the world.
“Search and Rescue Technicians are the rescuers of last resort, getting called out in some of the worst weather to some of the most remote parts of Canada. This accident reminds us that Canadian Armed Forces members put their lives on the line every day,” said Minister of National Defence Jason Kenney.
Providing primary search and rescue response for the Trenton Search and Rescue Region, 435 is the largest SAR squadron in Canada, extending from Quebec City to the British Columbia and Alberta border, and from the Canada and United States border to the North Pole.
Whether searching for Canadians in distress, refuelling CF-18 Hornet fighter-bombers on a NORAD mission or flying into a gravel airstrip at the top of the world, 435 “Chinthe” Transport and Rescue Squadron strives to live up to its motto, Certi Provehendi – Determined to Deliver.