Tuesday , January 31 2023

Pilot, aged 72, rescued from Manitoba's frozen lake 52 hours after pit stop


A bath break turned into a missing person's report for a 72-year-old pilot who was stuck on a frozen Nordic lake in Manitoba.

It was 52 hours before the Blessed Bednarek had been found, hungry and dehydrated, by the search and rescue crews that escaped from a Hercules aircraft.

"I felt pretty good, very good," Bednarek said, seeing them coming. "These guys are the best people you can ever see."

Bednarek, who lives in Steep Rock, Man, took off on the two-seater plane in Ashern, Man., 170 km northwest of Winnipeg, on the morning of January 12, intended to meet with others in a camp about 170 kilometers north of Lake Sisib.

RCMPs were notified around 6:45 p.m. on January 13 that he never did.

RCMP, Canadian officers in Rangers and Manitoba arrived on the field on snowmobiles, where SAR technicians set up a tent to provide medical treatment to the dehydrated pilot. (RCMP)

Bednarek wanted to land at Lake Sisib, but he could not see the area quite well because of the clouds.

"So I looked west for four miles and Lake Pickerel was there and the sun was shining there, so I thought, I just go there, I had to go to the bathroom," he said.

He landed, stopped the boat engine and made the deal. But after adding some fuels and trying to re-start the plane by turning the propeller, the engine stopped.

"He was fired once and that was it. I could not go," said Bednarek.

He tried another half an hour without any results.

I had to concentrate pretty well to stay calm– Happy Bednarek

The plane was about one kilometer away from the shore, and the sun had begun to work the following afternoon, so he decided to get up and warm.

"I dragged my shore and began to build a fire. I was there for 52 hours," Bednarek said, adding that he continued to fire from the body to feed the flames.

"Every 20 minutes to half an hour, I'll have to go back to the bush to get what I can."

Since he had not planned to rest, Bednarek did not scatter too much. All she had for food was a cup of blending. Oh, and a pack of half a cigarette.

"I had to focus pretty well on calm," he said.

"You've seen this movie Shipwrecked? For a reason that has gone through my mind.

Search for the airplane sent

Meanwhile, RCMP contacted the Joint Rescue Coordination Center of Canada in Trenton, Ont., Which deployed a Hercules search aircraft in the area.

Early in the morning, the researchers saw Bednarek's fire. Or rather, its flourishing.

"Fortunately, Happy has poured a combination of gasoline on fire as we flew over it. Through night vision goggles, it was bright as day," said Master CPL. Chris Griffiths, one of the search and rescue technicians with the Canadian Armed Forces.

"At that moment, we immediately knew there was a survivor there and we had to get there."

SAR techniques were initially unable to parachute the site due to unfavorable weather conditions, so RCMP instead sent a ground crew on the snowmobile.

An aircraft Hercules, sent to fly across the area, saw Happy Bednarek because of the fire he was holding. (RCMP)

While taking a 45-km snowmobile ride, the weather was eliminated and two SAR techniques fell to the spot immediately after 6:30 a.m.

Bednarek was in good spirits, though he was thirsty and hungry. SAR technicians have set up a tent and offered medical treatment.

"When the boys jumped there, I only had half a pack [of cigarettes] left, "Bednarek said.

"I said," Is that what you've been through the two days? "Said Griffiths, who spoke to CBC News, while Bednarek was connected via another telephone line.

– Yeah, and you did not know that … Mr. Chris Griffiths struck me with a cigarette, and I thought it should have been the other way around, "Bednarek joked, then revised his answer. "I would have given you 150 cans of cigarettes at that moment if I had.

"That's how I appreciated these guys out there."

High helicopter

The RCMP, along with members of Canadian Conservation Rangers and Manitoba, arrived with snowmobiles around 2:30 in the morning. to help.

"My hat also stops all, because it took them almost all day to get in there," Bednarek said. "It's a hard-to-find place, there are no good trails, it's fantastic, the thing everyone did."

Two hours later, Bednarek and SAR technicians were picked up by a helicopter.

Once Bednarek had returned to southern Manitoba and his son's home, it was obvious he was not the only one to compare his experience Shipwrecked.

Tom Hanks and his friend Wilson spent much time together in Castaway's 2000 film. (Castaway / YouTube)

His family handed him a ball with "Wilson" written on it, a clue to the only companion actor Tom Hanks in the 2000 film.

"It's a good story and it's good to make a happy ending story," said RCMP Cpl spokesman. Julie Courchaine, who highlighted the importance of the partnerships that RCMP has with other rescue agencies.

"This is a huge area with many lakes, a lot of isolated areas, so it really asks us to work together as such. It's good to see how well it works."

With files from Marjorie Dowhos and Colton Hutchinson

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