First all-women crew makes Air Ambulance history

The team was responding to a call in the northern community of Buffalo Narrows when the historic flight took place.

It's the first time an all-women crew took to the skies in the organization's 73-year history

Crystal Lybeck, a flight nurse, poses for a photo in front of an air ambulance, with crew members and pilots Tammie Kulyk, Carly St. Onge and paramedic Jen Rondeau. The four were the first all-woman flight crew to take to the skies in a Saskatchewan Air Ambulance. (Morgan Modjeski/CBC)

History has been made in Saskatchewan and it happened thousands of feet off the ground. 

Over the weekend Saskatchewan Air Ambulance responded to its first call with an all-women flight crew. It's the first time in the organization's 73-year history that all four crew members on the plane were women.

Pilots on the historic flight, Carly St. Onge and Tammie Kulyk, alongside paramedic Jen Rondeau and flight nurse Crystal Lybeck were the four to respond to the call, which was for a man experiencing respiratory distress in the community of Buffalo Narrows.

The team said they had no idea there would be such a positive response to the historic flight, but they started to get feedback from former patients, pilots and the public alike when news of the all-women flight hit social media.

Jen Rondeau, a paramedic with the Saskatchewan Air Ambulance, said the team has been getting a lot of positive feedback after they became the first all-women team to respond to a Air Ambulance rescue call over the weekend. The most common response: "Girl Power!" (Matthew Garand/CBC)

"A lot more than any of us were expecting," said Kulyk, with a laugh.

"One of the most common one was: Girl Power," said Rondeau. "And good for females in male dominated industries. That was important to us."

She said people in the medical field were also reaching out to congratulate the team. 

"Firsts are really important, I think, in all of our fields," she said. "So we saw a lot of positive messages, definitely."

The four had no idea they would be making history until they arrived at the hangar, saying while they could have planned the historic flight, they wanted to let it happen organically. 

While the trip was historic in nature, Kulyk said it was routine in all other aspects. 

"I'd say it's just another day, it's what we do everyday. The fact that we're all women doesn't change anything on a day-to-day basis."

Asked if the patient had any idea he was a part of history, the team said they think he was just glad to be receiving the medical attention and transport he required. 

Kulyk explained while this was the first time a all-women crew responded to a call, she said: "I'm sure it won't be the last."

About the Author

Covering everything and anything for CBC Saskatoon, Morgan is a journalist interested in municipal and provincial affairs, Canadian crime and Canadian politics. Familiar with a variety of beats, Morgan has worked as a staff reporter for the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Metro Calgary, Metro Saskatoon and the Fort McMurray Today and now works for CBC in Saskatoon.


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