Award Presentation, with the widow and the mother of Sergeant Janick Gilbert
The 2012 IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea will go to members of rescue crews from Canada and Chile for their actions in saving the lives of persons in distress at sea.
The IMO Council has decided that the award for Canada will go to:
Sergeant Janick Gilbert (posthumously),
Master Corporal Max Lahaye-Lemay and
Master Corporal Marco Journeyman,
crew members of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 424 (Transport and Rescue) Squadron, nominated by the Government of Canada; and to Mr. César Flores Flores, a rescue swimmer in the aerial detachment of the Chilean Navy, nominated by the Government of Chile.
Sergeant Janick Gilbert (posthumously), Master Corporal Max Lahaye-Lemay and Master Corporal Marco Journeyman were nominated for saving the lives of two Inuit hunters, who were stranded in an open boat in icy waters near Igloolik, Nunavut, in freezing temperatures, strong winds and 20 to 30 foot (six to nine metre) swells, during an operation that lasted five hours, in October 2011.
424 Squadron was initially deployed to investigate the situation. The two hunters were found in a liferaft which had filled with cold water. They had stopped communicating by radio. Despite the adverse and extremely dangerous conditions, team leader Sergeant Janick Gilbert decided that a parachute jump was required. The sun had already set, leaving just 30 minutes until full darkness. Sergeant Gilbert, Master Corporal Max Lahaye-Lemay and Master Corporal Marco Journeyman parachuted from an aircraft from a height of some 2000 feet (around 600 metres) above their calculated release point. Master Corporal Lahaye-Lemay was able to swim to the raft where he provided assistance to the men until recovered by helicopter approximately five hours later. Master Corporal Journeyman swam until he was exhausted but, realizing he could not close the distance to the raft, finally deployed his personal one-man life raft, until he, too, was recovered by helicopter. Sergeant Janick Gilbert landed furthest from the raft and was later found floating in the sea; upon arrival ashore, he was pronounced dead.
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