Ottawa Sea King saves Sea Turtles

Airforce Cpl Rob Stoodley attempts to free entangled sea turtles

Air Force Cpl Rob Stoodley attempts to free entangled sea turtles.

Last Tuesday, while deployed on Operation Caribbe, Canada’s contribution to the international war on drugs, HMCS Ottawa and its Air Detachment worked seamlessly together in an animal rescue.

Ottawa’s Sea King helicopter and crew were conducting patrol ahead of the ship when the aircraft captain, Capt Derek Kauth noticed an unmanned bamboo raft in the water with three sea turtles in tow. At a closer look, the crew found that two of the sea turtles were hopelessly tangled in a net attached to the raft.

The crew put their search and rescue training into practice by lowering their Airborne Electronic Sensor Operator, Cpl Rob Stoodley down the rescue hoist into the water to attempt to free the turtle.

The aircrew, based out of 443 MH Squadron, provided continuous radio updates to the ship and launched a smoke-marker into the water to indicate the trapped animals’ position.

Ottawa quickly closed the helicopter’s position. The ship arrived and deployed its Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat and Zodiac, carrying sailors from the ship’s diving team. PO2 Jason Bode was able to grab a hold of the net with a hook, while MS Allan Kobayashi unhooked the netting from one of the turtles.

PO2 Bode and LS Sean Dubeau snipped the netting away from the second turtle allowing the two turtles and a hiding turtle baby to swim away unharmed. The dive team disassembled the bamboo raft altogether and removed the netting from the sea to prevent further wildlife endangerment.

The rescue was an impromptu and well-executed effort between all departments of Ottawa and its Air Detachment, speaking volumes to the hard work and continuous training they have conducted during the past several months. The success was a great morale booster for sailors and animal lovers alike.

Capt Carly Cake, HMCS Ottawa

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  1. Valerie says:

    This is the type of story that we need to share with our city! Well done crew!

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