Canada is recognized as having one of the most successful and safest civil aviation programs in the world. The Nanaimo Airport Commission places safety as its top priority and partners with many organizations throughout the year to further promote successful and safe aviation programs.
One such partner is the Mid Island Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA). “Often the general public is not aware of our role in search and rescue”, shares John Lamb, Mid Island CASARA’s President. “Basically we get called out when there is an overdue aircraft or activation of an emergency locator transmitter. We respond to calls from the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Victoria. Plus we work independently or in support of military searches conducted by 442 Squadron in Comox, and we provide air search capability for ground and marine searches.”
Mid-Island CASARA operates out of the Nanaimo Airport with 25 members and three private aircraft. Each time there is a call, a crew with a pilot, a navigator, and two spotters takes to the air to report possible incident locations for investigation. Volunteer pilots fly their own private aircraft for search operations.
CASARA is a national organization and in British Columbia operates through Emergency Management BC (EMBC) and the Provincial Emergency Program (PEP Air). All CASARA members are unpaid volunteers.
Funding for CASARA’s flying costs, training, and equipment is shared by EMBC and the Canadian Forces. However each regional zone also independently fundraises to secure additional equipment and operate their search headquarters and training facility. “Our Zone successfully raises additional funds each year thanks to contributions from corporate sponsors and private individuals,” explains Lamb. “The Nanaimo Airport Commission is one of our major sponsors.”
To enhance fundraising, Mid-Island CASARA is hosting a raffle that wraps up Dec 20. Tickets are only $2 or 3 for $5. 9 prizes will be drawn for including two Harbour Air return tickets and a two hour boat tour charter.
Tickets can be purchased from any CASARA member.
Additional information CASARA can be found at CASARA.ca