Learn what Clint Homestead, a survival expert and trainer, as well as former Special Forces member, has to say about his experience with our Rescue Lasers in a special guest blog post.
Tony A. - Private Sailor
It was back in 2010 and we were moving a boat from San Francisco to San Diego. Everything was going fine until the 3rd day when we encountered a storm off Santa Cruz. We decided to head up and reduce the main to help with the 30 knot winds. When we were heading up, we blew out the main sail. We decided to go ahead and sail on the foresail for the next few days. The storm finally died and we proceeded to sail Port San Luis. Everything was fine till we hit a huge front which blew out the headsail. We went to our engine and could not start it. We were bare poled with no engine and heading to wherever the wind took us. We tried to hail Vessel assist but where we were there was no vessel assist. We tried for hours and finally the US Coast Guard picked up our Pon Pon. We gave them out LAT and LON and after 4 hours they found us with the help of the Rescue Light. It was 1:30 AM with no light and the Coast Guard said that they were able to find us much quicker with the Laser light. They asked to see it. They never saw anything like it and were quite impressed.
Calgary Police Service Rescue
On Saturday, August 02, 2003, at 23:34hrs Sgt. Mike ter Kuile, Tactical Flight Officer, and Chief Pilot Brendan McCormick for Calgary Police Air Services Unit, were requested to assist the RCMP and the Calgary Fire Department in a search for 4 rafters that were overdue by approximately 4 hours. Upon arrival at the scene it was noted that 2 police units and 3 trucks from the Fire Department had been searching for the victims along with members of their families.
An initial search was started in the area using the Wescam 16DS FLIR on the MD-520N. At approximately 0030hrs, the victims were located by the flight crew approximately 5NM from the search area on a sandbar. After landing nearby, the victims were checked by the Flight Officer for injuries and it was discovered that 2 of the 4 had lost their footwear when a raft was punctured. All were cold and wet and suffering from mild hypothermia. There were 3 females and 1 male with ages ranging from 17 to 23.
They had attempted to contact family members and the police via cell phone however their only phone had gotten wet and was not functional. Due to the remote location of the victims, their lack of footwear and clothing and the advanced time of day, it was decided to transport the rafters by air. Two of the four victims were loaded into HAWC 1 and transported to an LZ set up by Calgary Fire Department personnel. The remaining 2 rafters were left with a Rescue Laser Flare to assist the flight crew with relocating them for the 2nd trip. This was the 1st opportunity for the Unit to test the rescue laser and it proved to be extremely visible from at least 3 NM away from the helicopter. The victims were located in a shallow river valley and were surrounded by trees that added to their poor visibility.
One of the primary benefits that resulted from the use of the Rescue Laser was the reassurance it provided to the other two victims that the Flight Crew would have no difficulty finding them again thanks to the effectiveness of the laser as both a position marker and signaling device. Although not a critical rescue it was a good opportunity for the crew members to utilize their respective skills and equipment and to gain insight into the many life-saving applications afforded by the use of the Rescue Lasers.
The Mississippi River Challenge for Rett Syndrome and Leukodystrophy
Thank you for sending us two of your Rescue Laser Flare Magnums for The Mississippi River Challenge for Rett Syndrome and Leukodystrophy. We were successful in shattering the world record over 5 days, setting a new time of 18 days, 4 hours and 51 minutes! We averaged 129 miles a day during the worst May on record for tornados! It was awesome to be able to locate our support team, even at distances up to 6 miles away. Your Laser Flare worked wonderfully, and really contributed to our ability to keep a world record pace. Thank you from all of us, and from all those we were doing this for.
- Clark Eid
Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Office of Air and Marine Interdiction
The Laser Flare was tested in a variety of environments such as daylight, darkness, rain, and fog. Visibility from an airborne aircraft ranged from 15 miles at night, 8 miles in rain, 1.5 miles in fog and 1.5 mile daytime. This flare would be of tremendous value in a SAR situation for survivors on the ground or in a raft and would be easily stored in existing survival equipment aboard the aircraft.
I greatly appreciate allowing me the opportunity to test your unit and please find it enclosed. I would anticipate that I will be able to acquire enough units to place in all our aircraft and SAR kits.
- Gary "Suds" Sudhoff, Pilot, I.C.E.
2013 Ocean Navigator Chuck Husick Marine Technology Award
2010 HISWA Innovation Award
2003 Sail Magazine Pittman Editor’s Choice Award