Monthly Archives: August 2015

Saturday August 1, 2015

Lynn’s Notes:

A false alarm set off by a geological research helicopter sent the Hercules rescue team in the wrong direction. With just the canoe for shelter, the lost men waited anxiously for signs of help. Every sound, the wind, the waves on the water, small movements in the brush, sounded like the engine of a plane. Rod had left specific instructions on where he would be, and couldn’t understand why it was taking so long for help to arrive.

Monday August 3, 2015

Lynn’s Notes:

The Search and Rescue supervisors were dedicated and serious. I spent a great deal of time in their headquarters, which had been set up in the Lynn Lake Airport. Big maps on the wall showed the flight paths. The false ELT (Emergency Locator Transmitter) signal had taken the Hercules away from the position of the downed plane and everyone was becoming edgy and depressed. Once the mistake had been discovered, the Hercules resumed its original pattern. It would track a mile on each side of the path taken by Rod’s plane to the bay on Yathkyed Lake — first in a direct line from start to finish, then back and forth across the first path. Spotters stationed in glass pods on either side of the huge plane would scan the ground a mile out and back, a mile out and back. Any slight irregularity, anything shiny, any swath on the ground, they would report to the pilot who would then swing the plane around to have a closer look. A Twin Otter and a helicopter joined the search. The weather was closing in. Even in August, the arctic can be dangerously cold, and timing was critical.

Tuesday August 4, 2015

Lynn’s Notes:

My mother-in-law stayed at my house, looked after the children, and answered the phone. My brother-in-law stayed at his parents’ house with his dad who was in constant touch with Search and Rescue. He had the map on which Rod had recorded his flight path and destination. Having been a prospector, Tom knew the land well. He also knew that Rod was with a group of experienced outdoorsmen, and if anyone knew how to survive an accident, they did. He was calm and reassuring, but inside, he was prepared for the worst. We all were.

Saturday August 8, 2015

Lynn’s Notes:

I don’t remember the date. All I remember is that on the evening of the third day, the guys heard the sound of an aircraft. The first thing the Search and Rescue spotters saw were white parallel shapes under the surface of the water (not smoke). They had seen the pontoons of an overturned aircraft before. Technicians began to prepare for what they believed was the recovery of four drowned men, but something caught their attention on the shore. Overwhelmed and exhausted, the men had just enough energy to stand and wave as the Hercules circled overhead.

Monday August 10, 2015

Lynn’s Notes:

Rod and his friends waved with all the energy they had left as the Hercules circled overhead. The big hatch on the belly of the plane was lowered and a streamer was thrown out. The men ran to the place where the streamer landed and retrieved a capsule with a message in it. They were to stay where they were and await the arrival of an aircraft that could land at the site. The huge plane then circled away from the men and dropped a parachute bearing a huge box. Three SARTECHs (Search and Rescue Technicians) then jumped after it. The men on the ground watched them land, pull in their parachutes, and begin quickly to open the box, erect a tent, and organize a living space inside.

Tuesday August 11, 2015

Lynn’s Notes:

At home we all waited for any news of the lost men. We had the radio on and suddenly the CBC programming was interrupted by a bulletin: the men had been found safe and alive! How could the radio have received the news before we did? Joy and relief overcame any concerns we had about how the information had been delivered. I called the other women and told them what we had just heard. None of us could put our feelings into words. The shock of the entire situation was now something we could deal with. All we could do was wait for the men to come home — this kind of waiting was wonderful.

Thursday August 13, 2015

Lynn’s Notes:

The return of the four survivors was an exhilarating time for the families, but the end of an ordeal for the men. A Twin Otter on floats slowly pulled into the dock and four almost unrecognizable men were helped down from it. All were pale, thin, and covered in bug bites. They had been sheltered, warmed, and fed by the Search and Rescue techs, but the accident had left them weak and weary.

Friday August 14, 2015

Lynn’s Notes:

This was the truth. If they hadn’t had an old Bic lighter, a bit of Avgas, and some brush, they would not have survived. If the canoeists had not been so knowledgeable, they would not have survived, and if Tom had not kept record of their exact location, they would not have survived. They were lucky. It was a misadventure, which changed and mellowed all of us.

Saturday August 15, 2015

Lynn’s Notes:

One outstanding part of the story was the role played by the Search and Rescue team. What a wonderful, resourceful, brave and caring lot they are. For a long time, we kept in touch with the men who found and helped Rod and his friends to safety. How can you thank people who risk their lives for a living? We would be forever in their debt.

Sunday August 16, 2015

Lynn’s Notes:

This is a scene from my childhood. I liked being indoors. I enjoyed drawing and reading. Once I did go outdoors, however, it was hard to drag me back in. I remember my mom nagging me to get out and enjoy the sun and the summer — while it lasted. Seeing her asleep was a rare thing. She was one of those people who worked from sun up until sunset, and to find her relaxing anywhere was surprising. I think I’m a lot like my mother!

Monday August 17, 2015

Lynn’s Notes:

Again, the story of the rescue was chronicled in the strip. Rod and the others did find it hard to fend off coughs and colds after their ordeal. The legacy of the accident will last all of us a lifetime. We are all so sure that "it won’t happen to us," but when it does, we learn to appreciate every day — knowing how fragile we really are.

Wednesday August 19, 2015

Lynn’s Notes:

In the comic strip, Michael was old enough to understand what had happened and could talk about the adventure with his friends. At the time of the accident, however, our children were not aware of the seriousness of the situation. All they knew was that Daddy had gone for a trip and big planes had come to town to look for him.

Tuesday August 25, 2015

Lynn’s Notes:

This strip inspired a number of readers to write in. Some were pleased to see the subject of birth anomalies discussed in the comics, and others were outraged by the suggestion that angels might work on assembly lines. It’s hard to explain to those who take story-telling so literally that I was not trying to subvert their beliefs. Kids say things like this. The fact that they have faith in something greater and more wonderful than themselves, is part of the magic of childhood! Ah, but now I’m offending those who will object to seeing the words faith and magic in the same sentence. You can’t please ’em all.

Friday August 28, 2015

Lynn’s Notes:

Wordplay is something I really love. The trouble is that gags like this will not translate easily into other languages. I have spoken to translators who must change the gag completely so that a punch line will make sense to their readers. A translator of comic art must therefore be a humourist and a word-smith as well.

Monday August 31, 2015

Lynn’s Notes:

I was much more emotional, much more excited than my children were on their first day of school. Maybe it’s because I remembered so well my own first day — my own foray into the mayhem of new bodies, new bullies, new friends. Maybe I was remembering the size of the classroom where I sat and what I saw. Maybe I could hear the sounds, feel the noise, and taste the scent of new paper and pencils and paint. Maybe I was reliving their excitement at being a "big kid" for the first time. On the other hand, maybe I was just really glad to have the rest of the day to myself.