RCAF Combat Support Squadron evacuates residents and pets due to floods
After seasonal flooding had submerged much of the community of Mud Lake, NL in early May, elements of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) were deployed to evacuate the town’s residents to safety.
Based out of 5 Wing Goose Bay, 444 Combat Support Squadron was called into action in the early morning hours of May 17. The squadron’s primary role is supporting 5 Wing Operations.
“As a secondary role, we have a capacity to support the residents of the community, as does any other asset in the RCAF. It just enables us to develop those ties with the residents here,” said Maj. Allan Ireland, Commanding Officer 444 Combat Support Squadron.
Within hours a helicopter and crew from the squadron were deployed to Mud Lake to evacuate residents to Happy Valley Goose Bay.
By the time of their arrival, nearly 40 percent of the town was underwater and, so, the crew could safely land in only two sites. They were able to evacuate 15 people from site one and 12 people from site two, along with their pets.
The squadron’s CH-146 Griffon, accompanied by a CH-149 Cormorant from 103 Search and Rescue Squadron 9 Wing Gander, were able to evacuate 32 people and 16 pets in total.
“It’s a major point of pride for us to be able to support the communities of Newfoundland and Labrador.
“I would say unequivocally that the members of the squadron derive an immense level of satisfaction each time we go out and conduct real operations in and amongst our community,” said Ireland.
The flooding was caused by an overflow of the Churchill River caused by ice jamming at the mouth of the river. Seasonal flooding typically impacts much of the province.