Saturday, 24 June 2017

1953 Logy Bay Helicopter Rescue

Also published at planecrashgirl.ca

In the 1950s, helicopters were still a relatively new sight around Newfoundland and Labrador. The first helicopter rescue in Newfoundland was in 1946 with the rescue of the survivors from the crash of Sabena OOCBG near Gander. In 1953, helicopters were much more reliable and safer, but their use in any sort of rescue operation, like today, makes for an exciting and dramatic story.

This past spring the island saw a lot of pack ice. Middle Cove and Outer Cove became popular destinations for folks who wanted to see the ice, and some who decided to go out on the ice. In 1953, William Dunn of Tunis Court in St. John's, took to the ice with two unnamed companions to hunt seals. When Dunn didn't return that evening, a search started. His brother, John Dunn, set off at 5am on Saturday, March 29 from Logy Bay, and within an hour was marooned by slob ice about 150 yards offshore.

Ice at Middle Cove Beach this past spring. Picture from bitstop-nfld.
At the same time that John Dunn was leaving to try to find his brother, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Rescue Unit, the United States Air Force (USAF) and Coast Guard were putting a search and rescue plan into motion. Flight Lieutenant Ensom of the 103rd Rescue Unit Detachment of the RCAF at Torbay, was contacted by the RCMP to help rescue a man stranded on the ice near Logy Bay. Ensom checked the weather and determined that it was too poor to attempt to fly a Canso to the area. A while later, Major Rich, Operations Officer of the 6th Air Rescue Unit at Fort Pepperrell offered his assistance. He had gotten the story from other sources. Ensom passed on the offer to Inspector Porter of the RCMP who said there were now others caught on the ice in the same area.

By 11am, the weather was still too poor for the Cansos, so Ensom contacted Rich who ordered a helicopter from Harmon Air Force Base in Stephenville. Added to the order was a line-throwing rifle from the US Coast Guard in Argentia.

One of the buildings left in Stephenville from the Harmon Field days. Photo by Shannon K. Green, 2013.

All of the equipment arrived by 2pm and a rescue party was formed to rescue John Dunn. The crew consisted of Porter, Ensom, two RCAF Para-Rescue personnel, Trent and Courtourier, Lieutenant Carmichael of the Coast Guard and a Navy seaman who could use the line-throwing equipment.

While this was happening, fishermen from Logy Bay determined that there was too much ice and the swells were too high to put out dories to reach John Dunn. Instead, Pat Malone, a veteran sealer, lead Frank, Dan and Coleman Cadigan's efforts to rescue Dunn. The fishermen used a system of planks, gaffs, and ropes to reach from pan to pan and guided Dunn to the shore. John was just making it to the shore as the large rescue team arrived in Logy Bay.

The rescue crew and John Dunn. From to left corner clockwise: Dan Cadigan, John Dunn, Paddy Malone, Uncle James, Tim Malone, Willie Cadigan, Francis Cadigan. From The Daily News, 30 March 1953, p.1. (note, the caption reads Jack Dunn, but the article in The Daily News and The Evening Telegram say John Dunn).
Gaffs in the museum collection at the LBMCOC Museum. One was donated by Francis Cadigan, could it have been used in this rescue?

While these rescue efforts were going on, the RCMP received word that another sealer, Frank Olson, was stranded off Sugar Loaf Rock, off Small Point, about two miles south of Logy Bay. RCMP and civilians had tried reaching Olson with a line, but to no avail. At one point, Olson caught the line, but dropped it in the water where it was immediately caked in ice and broke.

At 6:15, the helicopter arrived piloted by Captain Wills of the 52nd Air Rescue Squadron. Wills picked up Enson, who showed him where Olson was located. The helicopter hovered over Olson and lowered a harness. Olson fitted the harness under his arms and was lifted off the ice and hauled on board the helicopter. He was then let off at Small Point where the RCMP took care of him. The helicopter then left to search for William Dunn.

Sugarloaf Path, part of the East Coast Trail, takes hikers past Sugar Loaf Rock and Small Point. From Hiking the East Coast Trail (and Beyond)
By 7:15, the weather was poor again. While it was nice on shore, the ice was shrouded in fog and made it unsafe. The Evening Telegram reported that, weather permitting, the search would resume the following day and the helicopter search would be joined by at least one Canso from Torbay. Further research is needed to see if William Dunn was found.

The Canso outside the North Atlantic Aviation Museum in Gander. Photo by Lisa M. Daly. 2013.

In an interview, Ensom did warn sealers that if they go out on the ice, they do so at their own risk. Search and rescue operations can pose a risk to the aircrews and aircraft and that the air rescue service was not designed with "the purpose of picking up people who are foolhardy enough to take a chance on dangerous ice."


'Tell them,' F.Lt. Ensom said, 'that they are completely on their own when they go out on the ice.' -The Evening Telegram, 30 March 1953. 


Ice at Middle Cove in spring 2017. Photo from bitstop.ca


Sources
Unknown Author
1953 Back from the Rescue. The Daily News, 30 March 1953, p1.
Unknown Author
1953 'Copter Pulls Man to Safety. The Evening Telegram, 30 March 1953, p.1.
Unknown Author
1953 Two Men Rescued From Ice; Third is Still Missing. The Daily News, 30 March 1953, p.3.

Friday, 16 June 2017

The Whale in Outer Cove

Many of you have probably seen on the news, or in person, the whale that washed up on Outer Cove Beach. It may not seem like the sort of thing that a museum would be interested in, but it is part of our culture, and is certainly a historic event, so why not record it while it happens.

The whale first washed up on Outer Cove Beach on May 22, 2017. Photo by Michelle Hickey, 2017.

Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove is a community linked to the water and the land. There is a rich history of fishing and farming in this area, which continues on to today. If you live on the North-East Avalon, where do you first think to go when the capelin come in but Middle Cove Beach. Over the spring, many people flocked to Marine Drive to see the pack ice and the icebergs, and in the summer, whales can often be seen off the coast.

Ice on Middle Cove Beach. Photo by Lisa M. Daly, 2017

This spring also brought an unusual sight to Outer Cove: a dead whale. According to experts, the whale had been dead for some time before it washed onto the beach, and because of that, determining a cause of death would be difficult. When the whale washed up, researchers went to the beach to collect data about the creatures while others flocked to the beach to see the humpback close-up, and to take pictures. A memorial marker was also erected at the beach in honor of the whale.

Marker erected at the beach to honour the humpback whale. Photo by Michelle Hickey, 2017.

While a dead humpback whale brought people to Outer Cove, it was a problem for the community as a whole. A large whale carcass is not something easy to remove, and the town struggled to figure out how to dispose of the whale. One option given was to bury it, but given that most residents use wells, that would be unsafe. Another option often given on social media was to blow it up, but that has been tried before with disgusting results (a youtube search will give some examples but be warned, they can be graphic). At one point, the whale washed off of the beach, but stayed close enough to be a hazard and still had to be removed.
The whale after it had washed off of the beach, but still remained close to shore. Photo by Michelle Hickey, 2017.
Finally. 17 days after the humpback first washed up, actions were taken to remove the carcass.

The morning of June 7, 2017, a Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) gave the official go ahead for DFO and the Canadian Coast Guard to launch two fast rescue craft (FRC), which launched from Flatrock, and a fishery patrol zodiac, launched St. John's. At this point, the whale was no longer on the beach, but against the rocks on the Doran's Lane side of the beach. At about 8:45 am the FRC vessels and the zodiac arrived at Outer Cove Beach. On shore there was a Caterpillar 336 (37 ton) excavator from J3 Construction. Coast Guard and DFO made numerous attempts to hook the whale to move it out to the water and away from the rocks. By 10am, the whale was moved to about thirty feet from shore.
The whale once it was moved onto the beach. Photo by Paddy Dyer, 2017.

Staff onshore unpackaged a net and spread it out on the beach. The DFO officer in charge requested that the excavator gently move the whale into position so that the net could be pulled under the whale once the net ropes were attached to the FRCs. Once this was done, the FRCs and zodiac began to pull the whale to deeper water. Offshore personnel attempted to wrap the netting around the whale, but by 11:15am were unsuccessful because there was not enough weight on the outside of the net to allow it to sink under the whale. The net was brought back onshore and weights were added to one end and cork to the other. In the meantime, the FRCs returned to St. John's Harbour for minor repairs and refueling.
The whale being moved up the beach. Photo by Paddy Dyer, 217.

At around 2pm, the FRCs were back and again attempted to pull the net under the whale. By about 4pm they were successful, and began pushing the whale back to shore. By about 5pm,. the whale was back to the shore. Earlier in the day, a makeshift slipway had been built to make it easier to get the whale back onto the beach. Bishop's Crane, a 35 ton crane, was already set up on the beach parking area and the crane straps were attached to the netting. The excavator was used to pull the whale to the top of the beach so that it could be reached by the crane. One strap that was attached to the whale was attached to the crane, and another was connected the tail and the excavator. Given the size of the creature, this was not enough to be able to lift the whale into the truck, so the crane lifted the whale enough so that onshore staff could slide a section of chain link fence under and around the whale. A cable was run around the fencing and attached to the crane. The fencing also acted as a stronger form of netting than just the net that had been used in the water.
A video of the whale being placed in the truck for final removal. Video by Paddy Dyer, 2017.
At about 7pm, the crane and the excavator lifted the whale into the back of a semi dump truck. The crane was equipped with a scale, and the operator said that whale, net and fence weighed in at about 20 tons (40,000 pounds). By 8pm, the whale was in the truck and on its way to the Sunyside dump, allowing the town to reopen the roads in the area.

A time-lapse video of the whale removal. Video by CBC NL.


But what is the aftermath of this whale washing up on the beach? For one, it is a significant cost for the community to have to pay for the removal of the whale. For another, having the whale on the beach was a concern to public safety. The rotting body of the whale poses risks to anyone getting close, from bacterial contamination to the added slickness created by the oils coating the beach. Warnings were issued regarding public safety as people ventured to the beach to see the creature.


LBMCOC mayor John Kennedy discussing the cost of the removal. Video by CBC NL.

Another concern is that capelin season will soon be here. Researchers warn that because the whale was on or near the beach so long, the oils have permeated the area, so unless there is some significant rainfall before the capelin come in, any fish caught on the beach might have a whale taste. So, when you head out to catch capelin this year, you might want to think about trying a different beach.

Sources:
Bartlett, G. and S. Kinsella
2017 Whale Watch From Afar: Outer Cove Crowds Told to Back Off Dead Humpback. CBC NL, 22 May 2017.
Bartlett, G. and S. Kinsella
2017 Whale Woes Wrap Up: Carcass Leaves Outer Cove. CBC NL, 07 June 2017.
Dyer, P.
2017 "Whale Removal June 7, 2017". Report on file at the town of Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove.
Gibbons, J.
2017 Dead Whale Removal Underway at Outer Cove Beach. The Telegram, 07 June 2017.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Museum Highlights: Model Aircraft

In 2015, a new exhibit was opened in the Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove Museum by then museum coordinator, Katie Harvey. It seems fitting that I find myself looking at our new exhibit about a plane crash everyday seeing as I have been researching Newfoundland and Labrador's aviation history for the past few years as PlaneCrashGirl. A lot of work went into creating the exhibit, including collecting stories from locals who remember the crash (Mena and Charlie Power, and Mary Roche), searching the field where the Stack House once stood, as well as putting the exhibit together.


The 1956 Outer Cove Plane Crash Exhibit

This post looks to focus on one object in that exhibit: a model of the aircraft.



On a foggy 09 January 1956, Col. Carl Payne of the United States Air Force petitioned his superior officer to let him take off is poor conditions as he was due to be at a conference in St-Hubert, Quebec. The small aircraft took off, and subsequently crashed into the home of Richard and Kitty Stack in Outer Cove. The house caught fire, but luckily no one in the home was injured. Col. Payne was less fortunate. His remains were found still in the aircraft. The majority of the plane was not recovered, and while mechanical failure could not be ruled out, the cause of the incident was ruled as pilot error. More information can be found here.

This model was created by Tony Bowdring of the International Plastic Modellers Society, St. John's Branch. It is an accurate representation of the Lockheed T-33A-1-LO, serial number 53-5143, which was flown by Col. Carl Payne on 09 January 1956. This aircraft was a two seated, training version of the Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star which was the first operational jet fighter of the United States Air Force.


A closer look at the model

This model has all of the markings of the aircraft including the fine detail on the tail fin. For a detailed explanation of the model, please visit IPMS St. John's post on their blog.

A closer look at the model

The model is an important part of the exhibit as nothing remains of Richard and Kitty Stack's House, and is currently housed under the stories of Mena Power, Charlie Power and Mary Roche alongside artifacts from 642nd AC&W Squadron 64th Air Division, North East Air Command (NEAC), Red Cliff, Newfoundland.





Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Another Wonderful Season

It's a beautiful spring day, perfect for the first week back at the museum.

First act of the year: After 7 years the old guest book is full. We have a shiny new guestbook just waiting for your signature!

Last year we had a great year with a record number of visitors. We had a number of summer camps visit, and they took advantage of our tours and our museum scavenger hunts. We also had out "Archaeologist for a Day" program, which brought kids in for a morning or afternoon of digging through buckets of sand and discovering artifacts. They then recorded those artifacts, and tried to find the matching item in the museum. It was a lot of fun, and a great opportunity to understand archaeology and how objects from the past can relate to objects today.
Some of our archaeologists working together to try to fit a broken cup back together. Different pieces of the cup were spread throughout the archaeological "site".

We also had the opening of or newest exhibit "The Sikh Society of Newfoundland" which looks at the history of Sikhism in Newfoundland, the traditions and beliefs of Sikhism, and the Sikh Gurdwara which is locate on Logy Bay Road. The launch of the exhibit was an amazing success. Members of the Sikh Society were on hand to discuss the artifacts they donated and educate everyone on Sikhism. And they brought some amazing treats for everyone to enjoy. I want to extend my thanks once again for all of their help in developing the exhibit and for taking the time answer our questions and to comment on the exhibit drafts. As well a think you to Greg Noel for his photo of the Gurdwara.

At the opening of the exhibit "The Sikh Society of Newfoundland". Photo by Michelle Hickey

Artifacts relating to Sikhism generously donated by the Sikh Society of Newfoundland

Along with the new exhibit and the 2015 exhibit about the Outer Cove Plane Crash created by Katie Harvey, we started to update the museum a little. Everything has been brightened with the addition of UV filters on all the windows, so we can have the curtains open during the day! Some of the information panels have been cleaned up and replaced, and some of our displays have been rearranged. We also updated our display about the Ocean Ranger with the goal of creating a better memorial to those lost.
The new exhibit, with big thanks to Gerry Boland for donating a copy of his Ocean Ranger picture.

This work will continue this season to make the museum more inviting and easier to explore.


A little look at some of our displays.

We have big plans again for this year, so stay tuned to our facebook and twitter pages for events, activities, and updates!

Lisa
Museum Coordinator

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Working At The Museum From the Perspective of a Student


Working At The Museum
From The Perspective Of Student
By Andrew Young, Museum Assistant


    The museum at the back of the Town Hall of Logy Bay - Middle Cove - Outer Cove is generally thought of, by many, to be a small one. Most people think that they can walk through it in five or ten minutes; this is true, to an extent. However, the museum houses over 600 objects and any individual object can carry a variety of particular meanings to a person. We have a sports section, and sections for the fishery, agriculture, religions, lifestyles, military and school.



    When you come to the museum, you are essentially coming as close as you can to putting yourself in the shoes of someone from the past. By reading the old newspapers you can get an idea of the sort of culture that they had had back then. There was a lot less deception in advertising for example. Character meant much more back then; if you didn't have it, you also didn't have their business.



    A newspaper ad from the Newfoundland Light and Power Company for example, reads as follows:



    "Protect your future first, either by a safe investment, a life insurance policy or a savings account. Then - get all you possibly can out of life. Money invested in electric appliances will give you more opportunities to enjoy life. Make yours an electric house. Be modern."




    If you think about it, that is pretty good advice even for today. In a culture consumed by debt - and as a student, student debt is a concern - it is very wise to tackle that quickly and then save. The next most practical type of investment would be a dishwasher or washing machine. We take washing machines for granted, but many people in the world spend several hours a day washing and hanging up their clothes and do this every couple of days.




    If we don't appreciate that modern innovation then it's relative value in our mind depreciates. We ultimately end up in a losing battle, man versus the machine, wherein man takes the machines for granted, and yet is completely dependent upon them, and develops appetites beyond ones capacities to sustain.




    It is therefore useful and wise to look into how the people of the past lived 100 years ago, and how people in less developed nations live today at this very moment, in order to have those points of comparison in our mind to appreciate the various advantages that we do have currently. We have to constantly combat this phenomenon wherein our happiness is adjusting to the new norm.




    That is the great value in visiting a museum or traveling, you gain a more realistic perception of where you are today. A simple life is a happy life - people then lived simply and were more carefree. If you went and asked a fisherman in Logy Bay how he was doing, he wouldn't know how to answer you. It's because there was only one way of life, and how well someone was doing in life depended upon their character, hard work and sacrifice. Little has changed since then in this regard, for the most part.

Note: Images are all from inside the museum, to help set the tone of Andrew's article. Lisa

Thursday, 1 September 2016

The Sikh Society of Newfoundland Exhibit Launch

It's been a busy couple of weeks here at the museum. If you haven't seen our changes, this is your last day, and September 10 for Doors Open, then we'll be open again next summer!

We've made quite a few changes in the museum this summer, from installing UV filters to the windows to allow us to open the curtains and brighten up the museum, to moving things around to hopefully give you, the visitors, more space to explore more comfortably.



We've also updated our Ocean Ranger exhibit with a beautiful picture donated by Gerry Boland and have a couple of softballs signed by local teams donated by Tom Hickey.

Our Archaeologist for A Day program was a big hit this summer, and was run both for small groups and for summer camps. The program was a little different from last year with a focus on objects that could be found within the museum. This allowed kids to not only act as archaeologists as they dug up and recorded "artifacts", but then they could find those "artifacts" in the museum and talk about how they are used.

We also added scavenger hunt sheets which the summer camp kids loved to use as they explored the museum.

Our big even of the season was the launch of the Sikh Society of Newfoundland exhibit. Wednesday night the museum filled up with community members who were interested in learning more about Sikhism in Newfoundland. The Sikh Society came out to help open the exhibit, to answer questions about Sikhism and brought some amazing snacks. I believe everyone who attended came out of the exhibit knowing more about the role the Sikh community plays in the Northeast Avalon, and across the island. It was great to see a few museum regulars and some new visitors come out to see the launch of this new exhibit.

Thank you to everyone involved in the development of this exhibit. First, the Sikh Society of Newfoundland who supplied the museum with information and objects to tell their story. We hope the exhibit reflects your society and your place within the community. You do so much great work, and we're happy to highlight it. Next, Andrew, the museum assistant, who took care of visitors so that I, the museum coordinator, could run around getting all of the supplies, drop off and pick up signs, and research. My volunteers, Shannon and Jane, for helping with the last minute set up. The Town of Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove for their support and power tools. And of course, the Heritage Committee for starting this project (in particular Katherine Harvey, the former coordinator for making initial contact and starting the research) and for their support and suggestions throughout. To be honest, with so many wonderful people backing me, there was little for me to do!

And this is it for this season, but please, visit on September 10th for Doors Open, and keep watching facebook and twitter for when we open again next year and start #CapelinRoll2017!

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Exhibit Launch: The Sikh Society of Newfoundland


You are all invited to the opening of our new exhibit, The Sikh Society of Newfoundland.

Please join us at 7pm on August 31, 2016 to look at the history of Sikhism in Newfoundland.

For more information, please email lbmcocmuseum@gmail.com, call 726-5272, or find the event on facebook.

All are welcome!
Hope to see you there!