Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay hosts annual search and rescue exercise with Royal Canadian Air Force

Residents of Thunder Bay, Ont., may notice an increase in planes flying overhead this week as the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and United States Coast Guard search and rescue aircraft conduct a joint exercise, expected to wrap up on Friday.

Annual event concludes Friday, May 10

Capt. Morgan Strachan is with 435 Squadron based in Winnipeg, MB. He was one of the pilots taking part in last year's search and rescue exercise in Thunder Bay, Ont. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

Residents of Thunder Bay, Ont., may notice an increase in planes flying overhead this week as the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and United States Coast Guard search and rescue aircraft conduct a joint exercise, expected to wrap up on Friday.

Canada's 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron, which is based in Manitoba, will operate from the Thunder Bay International Airport for the annual training opportunity.

According to a written release from the Canadian National Defence, Thunder Bay was selected so crews could practice a deployment and establish a search headquarters in area with more challenging terrain than southern Manitoba.

The training scenarios are designed to be realistic and will include responses by multiple agencies.

Officials stated most of the exercise activities will happen in places with little public access, but anyone who witnesses a land based training session is welcome to observe but should maintain a distance of at least 100 metres .

Training scenarios will include responding to reports of missing aircraft, vessels in distress and missing or injured hunters and hikers.

Canadian crews are based in Ontario and Quebec, while the American crews are coming from Florida, Michigan and Oregon.