The Canadian Forces School of Search and Rescue was training for landing in confined spaces in Qualicum Beach Friday. — Lauren Collins photo

SAR Techs parachute training in Qualicum Beach

Course candidates learning to land in tight spaces

If you saw flecks of orange floating over the Qualicum Beach Airport Friday, don’t worry.

The Canadian Forces School of Search and Rescue was training in Qualicum Beach Friday (May 5) . Course candidates were being introduced to confined-area parachute training, said Morgan Boutilier, an officer with the school.

Boutilier said the course candidates have been training for the parachute portion of the course since the last week in March.

“We’ve taught them the basics, from never parachuting before to freefall (and) how to fly parachutes in approaches. Now we’re introducing to them how to penetrate into small, tight confines,” said Boutilier, adding all of the candidates have had approximately 65 jumps already.

The course candidates were jumping from about 3,000 feet to work on their canopy control.

Boutilier also said that, following their one day of training in Qualicum Beach, the course candidates would be taken to smaller and smaller confines in the coming weeks. Chris Griffiths, a course candidate, said the guys who were training had been doing well and jumping on target.

“This is kind of our first day dealing with trees in the way… it’s definitely new for us, but it’s still big enough that it’s a comfortable-sized drop zone,” Griffiths said. The Canadian Forces School of Search and Rescue is based out of Comox. SAR Techs (Search and Rescue Technicians), the Air Force Para-Rescue Specialists, wear distinctive orange flight suits. The candidates are trained to penetrate and operate in remote and inaccessible areas to deliver immediate and life-sustaining medical care.