Quebec troops en route to British Columbia to help flood victims

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Captain William Pugh will be in charge of co-ordinating helicopter operations with the other military units on the ground. (Hadi Hassin/Radio-Canada - image credit)
Captain William Pugh will be in charge of co-ordinating helicopter operations with the other military units on the ground. (Hadi Hassin/Radio-Canada - image credit)

About 30 air personnel from the Canadian Forces Valcartier base near Quebec City were deployed to B.C. on Friday afternoon to provide assistance to the communities affected by the catastrophic floods that ravaged parts of the western province.

They will be joining more than 100 military personnel from across the country who are already on the ground.

"Our role there is really to fly helicopters," said Lt.-Col. Alexandre Dubois, who commands Valcartier's Squadron 430, the team being deployed.

Hadi Hassin/Radio-Canada
Hadi Hassin/Radio-Canada

Dubois told Radio-Canada that his unit has been designated as the lead mountain unit, and will be in charge of supplying most of the personnel for the Forces' helicopter operations in B.C.

He said they will be mostly transporting supplies and goods to communities that were cut off from the rest of the province, and flying people who need medical care in and out of those villages.

His squadron is sending three CH-146 Griffon helicopters, which are being flown to B.C. in a military airplane specifically designed to carry them.

Hadi Hassin/Radio-Canada
Hadi Hassin/Radio-Canada

The personnel being dispatched include helicopter pilots, technicians and some soldiers from the army.

"We're really motivated and we really want to help as much as we can," Capt. William Pugh told Radio-Canada. Pugh will be co-ordinating helicopter operations with the other units in B.C.

"This is a mission that's quite important for us, primarily because we're working with Canadians who are in need," he said.

Hadi Hassin/Radio-Canada
Hadi Hassin/Radio-Canada

The troops will land in Vancouver on Friday evening and are expected to arrive in Abbotsford on Saturday. A handful more personnel will be joining them this weekend.

Dubois said they are planning to go for at least 30 days, but noted that could change as the situation evolves.

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