CAF Story: How MCpl Delage Rescued a Badly Burned Tugboat Engineer

01-23-caf-story-MCpl DelageMarch 27, 2012, that was actually my birthday, we got called out in Lake Ontario for a tugboat, an American tugboat.

There was an explosion in the basement, like where the engineer was there at the moment, and he got burned pretty much like 85% of his body. So he was in really, really bad shape.

I’m Master Corporal Steve Delage. I’m presently working with 435 Squadron as a Search and Rescue Technician.

It was pretty angry that night, we were with the Griffon helicopter from Trenton and we were two SAR Tech on board. We brought one of the SAR Tech that was supposed to be on the Earthly, that was a Coast Guard boat but they couldn’t come closer because that was too rough.

Because of the weather and because it was a pretty dark night, we had to be hoist in the water, probably like 75 feet away from the boat, and we had to swim and climb on the side with big tires and with all of our equipment. We actually took care of this person who was badly burned and we flew that person to Belleville Hospital.

The other SAR Tech that stayed behind and took care of the five until it was ok to transfer them to the Coast Guard boat. And everybody made it safe back to shore.

It can be pretty interesting, because you can be called out at 2am, out of your bed, go on a mission, and six hours later you come back, and go back into bed, and you just look at your wife and say ‘oh, I just did that’.

I have two young kids and a wife, so it’s a pretty big challenge to balance both of those worlds. That’s actually my biggest challenge.

The one thing that is special in our world, the Search and Rescue world, is that we’re a pretty small group of people. We help each other. Like I was going on a mission, and one of our co-workers said, yeah, I’m going to go and pick up the kids and take care of them while you’re going to be away’.

I have this feeling that it’s not me that’s in trouble when I go rescue people, I have this feeling that they’re the ones that need help, and that’s the job I do.

See Master Corporal Steve Delage’s video

Source: National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces