By Peter Moon
KITCHENUHMAYKOOSIB INNINUWUG – Canadian Rangers from a remote First Nation in Northern Ontario have successfully partnered with the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) to rescue a fisherman stranded after his boat’s engine failed.
The fisherman, Jericho Beardy, 25, had traveled by boat to his hunting camp for a day of fishing, but did not return as planned to his home in Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, a remote Oji-Cree community about 580 kilometers north of Thunder Bay (often referred to as KI). His camp is about 20 kilometers west of KI.
The fisherman’s family alerted the local Rangers, who are part-time army reservists with KI patrol, and the Ontario Provincial Police detachment in the community. A helicopter rented by the OPP for emergencies was at KI and it flew to the hunt camp with Ranger Sgt. Spencer Anderson and OPP Constable Darryl on board. Sainnawap, who is also a Ranger.
“We got to the camp but couldn’t land because there wasn’t a clear enough space for us to get down,” Sergeant Anderson said. “He waved at us and held up a can of gasoline. He may have let us know he was out of gas, but we could also see that his boat’s engine cover was lifted, so maybe he had engine trouble. The important thing was that he looked fine physically.
Unable to land, the helicopter and its passengers returned to KI. Sergeant Anderson and Ranger Corporal Craig Sainnawap left soon after to travel to the hunting camp by boat, taking tools and extra fuel with them.
“He was very happy to see us when we arrived at his camp,” Sergeant Anderson said. “He had an engine problem, a mechanical problem, and we couldn’t fix it for him. So we brought it back to KI. I offered to take him back to his camp to pick up his boat when I went fishing myself in a few days. It made him very happy. I also told him he should join Rangers and I think maybe he will.
A joint command post was established for the rescue mission at the KI-OPP detachment office. Corporal Harriet Cutfeet operated on him for the Rangers.
“Everything went well,” said Sgt. John Meaker, provincial search and rescue coordinator for the Ontario Provincial Police. “The Rangers have excellent local knowledge of their regions.”
About the Author
Sergeant Peter Moon is a Ranger with the 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group at Canadian Forces Base Borden.