Lynn's Comments: 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.
Lynn's Comments: 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.
Lynn's Comments: 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.
Lynn's Comments: 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.
Lynn's Comments: 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.