Montreal

Quebec airman's body returns to base

A Canadian Forces plane carrying the body of a Quebec airman who died during a rescue mission in Nunavut touched down at CFB Trenton Saturday afternoon.

A Canadian Forces plane carrying the body of a Quebec airman, who died during a rescue mission in Nunavut, touched down Saturday afternoon at CFB Trenton in Ontario.

Sgt. Janick Gilbert was a search and rescue technician with 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron based in Trenton, Ont. ((Department of National Defence))
Sgt. Janick Gilbert, 34, of Baie-Comeau died outside the Nunavut hamlet of Igloolik Thursday after parachuting into rough and cold arctic waters. He was trying to rescue a father and son who had been stranded in a boat.

Gilbert's flag-draped coffin was loaded into a waiting vehicle and taken to Ottawa.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay and Gen. Walt Natynczyk, Chief of Defence Staff, were to be on hand to honour Gilbert.

"He will be sorely missed by all within the search and rescue community and everyone in the 8 Wing family," base spokesperson Lt. Christopher Daniel said in a statement.

"He will be remembered as a devoted husband, exceptional father, and a professional [search and rescue] tech."

Gilbert's cause of death has not been released.

The military said he was "unsuccessful" parachuting into the water. The RCMP indicated he was found non-responsive in the water.

He died before a Cormorant helicopter from CFB Gander in Newfoundland arrived to pick up the group, about three hours later.

The two boaters and two other rescuers were taken safely to Igloolik.

Gilbert was a search and rescue technician with the 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron based in Trenton.