Parksville’s Ascent Helicopters flying high as new SAR hoist rescue team

WatchAscent Helicopters has a long history of doing industrial hoist work but is now well-known for conducting hoist rescue missions.

Ascent Helicopters of Parksville completed another rescue Tuesday after hoisting three injured hikers off Kings Peak near Gold River.

“The terrain was definitely difficult for us once again and we were definitely higher up,” said Kerry Roberts of Ascent Helicopters.

“So they were coming down the mountain and I think one of the person’s crampons popped off and so they were all came down. One person was able to hang on with a rope but they all suffered various injuries,” said Sebastien Marcoux of Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue.

It was the latest hoist rescue by Ascent Helicopters that joined forces with Comox Valley and Campbell River Ground SAR teams late last year.

They’ve done numerous rescues across the island in 2020 however hoisting isn’t new to Ascent, which has been doing industrial hoist work for over 15 years.

“As a company, we’re proud to be able to provide this service,” said Ascent owner Trent Lemke. “It’s very rewarding to be able to work with the local search and rescue groups. They’re volunteers, they put their heart and soul into the programs and we like to be able to help them out as much as possible.”

Ascent Helicopters is Transport Canada certified to fly with night vision goggles (NVG) which would be a game-changer for ground SAR but so far it doesn’t have the approval to fly past dark for search and rescue.

“So that would be the next step, take it to the next level,” added Lemke. “Increase the training and hopefully get into NVG operations with Emergency Management BC (EMBC) and the SAR groups so that we can conduct these operations at night.”

In the meantime, the hoist team continues to prove itself task after task.

“You know great saves for the hoisting program in the sense that they were able to provide really fast emergent care,” said Lemke.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!