Lessons learned from a Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA) drone exercise held over the weekend will prove beneficial in the future for searches.
Major Claude Courcelles who is the CASARA Liaison Officer working for Senior Staff Officer Search and Rescue at 1 Canadian Air Division in Winnipeg along with members from every province were in Cobourg over the weekend for the two day exercise involving drones used for search and rescues.
On Friday, members worked with the Canadian Coast Guard and involved searching for a number of people (4) lost in the water off of Cobourg on Lake Ontario.
The scenario took place approximately 11 kilometres south of Cobourg.
During the morning one group launched the drones from the Coast Guard Cutter Cape Rescue while another ground was on shore. In the afternoon, after a debriefing the two groups switched places.
“This morning the conditions were more windy so we learned a lot from the exercise this morning.”
“We learned that we cannot go as far as we expected in theory to have a productive search.”
During the afternoon members of CASARA searched closer to shore, while members on the Cape Rescue searched farther out.
“This strategy of search will make it a lot more efficient and quicker to find a person in the water.”
Councelles said the exercise proved beneficial in many ways over the weekend.
“Everything always looks good on paper, until you start trying it.”
“We tried it this morning and this afternoon is working much better because we learned from the mistakes this morning.”
On Saturday, the group had planned to work in the GRCA searching for lost hikers.
Courcelles said CASARA very much appreciated the support by the Canadian Coast Guard, Cobourg Fire Department, Cobourg Police Department and the Town of Cobourg.