25 years ago on this date, October 30, tragedy struck in howling winds and bitter cold in the Canadian arctic.
A C-130 Hercules aircraft crashed into the ice covered tundra near its destination, Canadian Forces Station Alert.
The military aircraft was carrying 18 people on a routine bi-annual mission to resupply the Station.
Five people died in that crash, but miraculously, 13 people managed to survive for hours in the bitter cold, as valiant rescue efforts
were made by other military personnel, both on land and from the air.
Killed were Captain Judy Trepanier, Master Warrant Officer Tom Jardine, Warrant Officer Robert Grimsley, Master Corporal Roland Pitre, and
Captain John Couch.
Today (Sunday), a 1,133-kg cairn in the shape of a Hercules aircraft wing was dedicated to those who lost their lives on Boxtop Flight 22.
The cairn’s permanent home will be under the wing of a C-130 Hercules in the airpark of the National Air Force Museum of Canada at 8 Wing
Last June, the cairn was dedicated at the actual crash site, where the wreckage still lies strewn about the landscape, preserved perfectly in the
Close to 200 people attended the emotional dedication ceremony today, many of them family and friends of both the fallen and the survivors.
Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force, Lieutenant-General Mike Hood, said the day was a special one for him, as he knew many of the
people on the ill-fated plane as well as many of the people involved in the rescue effort.
General Hood said the Boxtop Flight 22 story was one of tragedy, perseverance, hope, and sorrow. He called both the survivors’ and rescuers’ efforts
bravery of the highest level ever seen in Canadian peacetime history.
General Hood said even 25 years later, he still cannot comprehend what the crash survivors, rescuers, and their families had to go through and are
still going through.
He said 8 Wing Trenton is Canada’s largest air mobility base and still serves as the base for all supply flights heading to CFS Alert and as such is the perfect
location for a permanent reminder to everyone of the tragedy and heroism that was involved in the frozen isolation of the arctic a quarter century ago.