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Miraculous Rescue: Pilot Reunites with SAR Team at Comox Air Show



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A remarkable moment unfolded at the 19 Wing Comox as pilot Captain Wes Mitchell, a survivor of a harrowing aircraft accident in Gold River back on July 28, 2023, reunited with the Search and Rescue (SAR) team that saved his life. Mitchell, narrating his near brush with death, recalled the terrifying descent of his aircraft into the tall trees, a moment he thought would be his last.

Amidst the wondrous displays of jets soaring overhead at the Comox Air Show, Mitchell’s focus was not on the aerobatics but on the very Cormorant helicopter and its crew that performed a miraculous rescue that fateful day. His admiration and gratitude towards the SAR team were palpable, with Mitchell expressing his disbelief at the life-saving maneuver that brought him to safety.

The heartfelt reunion between Mitchell and SAR Technician Carl Schouton was a rare and emotional encounter. Schouton, speaking on behalf of the team, expressed the honor and privilege of meeting the individual they had rescued, a moment that typically eludes rescue teams.

Despite the expected 20,000 attendees, the air show witnessed a far larger gathering, with estimates reaching up to 30,000 to 40,000 spectators from various regions, including Comox Valley, Nanaimo, North Cowichan, and beyond. The event, marking the return of the Comox Air Show after a nine-year hiatus, attracted a diverse audience captivated by the aerial feats and military prowess showcased by 19 Wing Comox.

For Mitchell, attending the air show was not only a gesture of appreciation but also a chance to express his gratitude in person to the SAR team whose swift response and expertise had saved his life. The spirit of camaraderie and the bond forged between the pilot and his rescuers resonated throughout the event, showcasing the indomitable human spirit in the face of adversity.

Rachel Adams

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