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EPS Air 1 Helicopter Helps Rescue Missing Father and Son

17-Jul-2020

EPS Air 1 helicopter called in to help locate a father and son who went missing at Miquelon Lake on July 11.

The sun was setting and rescuers had exhausted efforts to locate a missing father and son who had gone out rafting on Miquelon Lake.  But instead of calling off the search for the night, they requested the assistance of the Edmonton Police Service Air 1 helicopter.

At 7:40 p.m. on Saturday, July 11, 2020, Camrose RCMP received a call from a woman who reported that her 40-year-old husband and nine-year-old son went onto Miquelon Lake in an inflatable tube and had not been seen or heard from for several hours.

The Camrose / Wetaskiwin RCMP coordinated an immediate search of the area with the assistance of the RCMP Police Dog Services, Camrose County Fire Services, Miquelon Lake Provincial Park staff, as well as volunteers.  Two boats also participated in the search but were hampered due to low water levels and aquatic vegetation.  

At approximately 9:30 p.m., with sunlight and hopes fading, the RCMP requested the assistance of the EPS Air 1 helicopter as their helicopter was unavailable at that time.

The EPS Air 1 helicopter is often called out to help search for missing persons in the Edmonton region – not only because of its unique vantage point from high above, but for its state-of-the-art GPS navigational overlays and enhanced digital camera / infrared system, which can quickly pinpoint individuals and direct resources on the ground to that location.

Despite heavy winds that evening, Air 1 was over the lake a short time later and located the missing rafters within minutes of arrival.

The two rafters were stranded across the lake on a shoreline about three kilometres north from where they went missing.  They were standing in a marsh area surrounded by dense bush with the nearest road over a kilometre away, so the flight crew decided to land Air 1 nearby and pick them up to expedite the rescue.

The father and son were wearing only their swimsuits and t-shirts, and were feeling the effects of the cold and numerous bug bites.  They explained that they lost their paddle, became disoriented, and had to wait for assistance. 

Air 1 was able to return the two safely to the Miquelon Lake Park Site where they were treated by EMS and reunited with grateful family.    

The enhanced capabilities of the Air 1 helicopter make it a vital part of the Edmonton Police Service, and helps provide a greater level of safety and support to the public and first responders.  Air 1 responds to over 3,000 calls annually, including calls to assist Edmonton Fire Rescue and the RCMP.