Leonardo awards Cormorant Trophy for joint Canada-U.S. rescue mission saving 31 lives

Leonardo Press Release | June 1, 2022

Estimated reading time 7 minutes, 46 seconds.

Leonardo congratulates the winners of the 2021 Cormorant Trophy which for the first time in the award’s 20-year history, goes to helicopter rescue crews from both Canada and the U.S. for the heroic F/V Atlantic Destiny Rescue on March 3, 2021.

The two U.S. Coast Guard MH-60T Jayhawks on the flight line in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, with the Canadian CH-149 Cormorant. USCG Cdr. Ian Hurst Photo

The winners this year are the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) crews from “Rescue 904” and “Rescue 907”, from 413 Transport at Rescue Squadron at CFB Greenwood, Nova Scotia, and “CGNR 6039” and “CGNR 6032” from U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

“Operating in some of the most severe weather conditions known, the respective crews have clearly exhibited incredible courage despite the known and unknown danger awaiting their arrival,” said Dominic Howe, Head of International Campaigns, Canada for Leonardo Helicopters.

“Given the exceptional bravery of the SARTechs who continued risking their own lives as they were battered against the ship during this lengthy ordeal so that others may live, this rescue is most deserving of this award.”

“Given the extreme distance from shore and on-scene weather conditions in a nighttime
environment.” Canadian Coast Guard Photo

Major Marc Saucier of 413 Transport and Rescue Squadron said, “Multiple aircraft crew members, including those with thousands of flight hours, noted these conditions as some of the most extreme they had ever encountered.

“Given the extreme distance from shore and on-scene weather conditions in a nighttime
environment, all personnel involved in the rescue demonstrated unparalleled bravery and
willingness to risk their own lives in the service of others.”. Saucier continued, “Furthermore, this rescue involved a high level of international cooperation without which the lives of these mariners would surely have been lost.”

The recipients of the Cormorant Trophy are:
R907, RCAF CH-149 helicopter (Canada)
• Capt Jeremy Appolloni, Aircraft Captain
• Capt Sean Finn, First Officer
• Sgt Bradley Nisbet, SAR Tech Team Leader
• Sgt Fernando Bianco, SAR Tech Team Member

• MCpl Daniel Domonkos, Flight Engineer

“This rescue involved a high level of international cooperation without which the lives of these mariners would surely have been lost.”


R904, RCAF CH-149 helicopter (Canada)
• Capt Malcolm Grieve, Aircraft Captain
• Capt Frederick Taillefer, First Officer
• MCpl Sheldon Roy, SAR Tech Team Leader
• MCpl Matthew Sebo, SAR Tech Team Member
• Sgt Robin Vardy, Flight Engineer

CGNR 6039, USCG MH-60T helicopter (U.S.)
• CDR Brian Kudrle, Aircraft Commander
• CDR David McCown, Copilot
• AMT2 Adam Niski, Flight Mechanic
• AST3 Clayton Maidlow, Rescue Swimmer

Members of the RCAF’s 103 Search and Rescue Squadron and partners for U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod during a joint training mission in St. John’s Newfoundland. RCAF Photo

CGNR 6032, USCG MH-60T helicopter (U.S.)
• LCDR J. Travis Christy, Aircraft Commander
• LT Craig Campbell, Copilot
• AET1 Phillip Morales, Flight Mechanic
• AST2 Adam Via, Rescue Swimmer

The F/V Atlantic Destiny rescue was selected from five nominated helicopter rescue missions received from across the country, by a judging panel comprising representatives of the Canadian Armed Forces, aviation media and company representatives.

The F/V Atlantic Destiny rescue was selected by a judging panel comprising representatives of the Canadian Armed Forces, aviation media and company representatives.

The other nominated rescues included:
• The May 13, 2001 rescue of five mariners by “Rescue 904” from 103 Squadron, from the F/V Salt Water Pride, which was disabled with a broken mast in rough seas off the
northeast corner of Newfoundland.
• The long-range helicopter mission (1,549 nautical miles) and search for a lost hunter in
Naujaat, Nunavut, in strong winds, low clouds and snow, on December 3, 2021.
• The largest mass evacuation by RCAF CH-149 Cormorant Helicopters from Agassiz, B.C, during unprecedented landslides on November 15, 2021. A total of 311 people and 27 dogs and cats were airlifted from the disaster zone in bad weather.
• The search and rescue of an elderly couple trapped in an overturned vehicle in a ditch, in
the Saguenay region of Quebec on August 10, 2021.

About the Cormorant Trophy:
The Cormorant Trophy was commissioned by Leonardo (formerly AgustaWestland) in 2002 as a trophy to be presented annually to a Canadian civilian, government or military helicopter crew performing the most demanding helicopter rescue of the year. The criteria for the award include:
• The mission occurred within Canada’s Search and Rescue area of responsibility;
• It was conducted by a Canadian civilian, government or military helicopter crew;
• It involved a rescue or attempted rescue where lives were saved or the potential for saving lives was high.

This press release was prepared and distributed by Leonardo

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