OCOA Certificate of Lifesaving 2005
Conservation Officer Pilot Kevin Elliott
On July 12, 2005, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Pilot Kevin Elliott and District Enforcement Supervisor Charlie Todesco were conducting aerial enforcement duties in a Turbo Beaver aircraft north of Wawa, Ontario. They were dispatched to investigate a suspected man caused forest fire on the north end of Esnagi Lake, which was being actioned by a fire control crew.
While landing on the lake, the aircraft crashed and flipped onto its back, immediately submerging the cockpit under water. Elliott and Todesco were strapped into their cockpit seats with shoulder harness belts, and found themselves upside down and underwater. Todesco became disoriented and could not release himself from the harness belts. Before dealing with his own safety, Elliott released Todesco from his harness, enabling Todesco to exit the aircraft from a rear door prior to the fuselage completely filling with water. Elliott then turned his attention to his own escape, which required him to bend a cockpit door off the frame of the aircraft and escape to the surface of the lake.
Elliott’s actions in this situation saved Todesco’s life. "I was in a situation where I was drowning in the seat as I could not locate the harness release" said Todesco. "If it had not been for Kevin’s actions, I would never have been able to get out of the aircraft".
This Lifesaving award is for Elliott’s unselfish actions in assisting Todesco before taking actions to free himself from the aircraft. His actions on that day are greatly appreciated by the Ontario Conservation Officers Association and the Todesco family.