Military choppers from CFB Trenton helped to rescue hundreds of motorists stranded by a severe snowstorm near Sarnia, Ont., Tuesday. By late Tuesday afternoon 237 people had been rescued from their vehicles, it is unclear how many people were taken in my area farmers and snowmobilers who aided in the efforts.
Drifting snow and zero visibility had trapped about 300 people in their vehicles since Monday night on Highway 402, between Sarnia and County Road 22, about 30 kilometres east of the city.
Defence Minister Peter McKay said the helicopters can drop search and rescue personnel by basket onto the road and scoop up the stranded drivers.
“They’re a utility helicopter, they can accommodate up to 10-12 people, so those helicopters are a bit confined by weather, but they’re flying now, and they’re doing their job,” McKay said.
Graham McDonald, one of those stranded motorists, was on his way from Toronto to Sarnia on business when his SUV got stuck in the snow at 2:30 p.m. Monday.
He had been stranded in his vehicle on Highway 22, which is about 15 kilometres away from Sarnia.
McDonald told 680News the last time he ate was Monday morning.”I have been melting the snow just to get some water,” he said. He also used a cup as a bathroom.
After spending almost 24 hours stuck in his SUV, he said he could not stand the freezing cold anymore. So, when one a stranger offered him a place for shelter, he accepted.
Motorists saved on gas by turning off their cars, so not only were they hungry, but they were also cold.
McDonald said saw civilians on snowmobiles rescuing some women from their cars.
The “red alert” was issued on Monday for the area, but it was cancelled Tuesday morning.
One person rescued had an unspecified medical emergency, but was said to be OK. There were no reports of serious injuries or deaths.
Ontario Community Safety Minister Jim Bradley said it’s believed everyone has been rescued, but police were sweeping the highway again just to be safe.
Police have said the ground rescue operation will continue around the clock.