10 May Sea | Water Heli Rescue Operations
Over a decade ago, above the Lake of Ontario, Ivan Kristoff introduced The Highrise Emergency Aerial Response Team. When the Organizing Committee of the Metropolitan Toronto Police invited me to be part of the 1st Annual Law Enforcement and Emergency Services Appreciation Day, had the pleasure to propose to commemorate them with setting a New World Record for them. Since I was the first person who rappelled and climbed on a rope, high above any structure in the world at that time and even now, I hired a the most experienced Canadian company for helicopter operations with aerial stunts for the film industry and we promoted the event on the Prime Time news of the most prominent Canadian TV networks. We had meetings with the Toronto Police Officers who were invited to participate in the aerial stunt where I will rappel on to their water vessel and later with MR. King, the Harbor Master who has the Authority on the waters surrounding Toronto in Lake Ontario and had to give me the permission. There were a lot of concerns and worries from their side regarding the static electricity that releases when the rappeller gets in contact with the boats, based on their experience. They said that it was too dangerous, because when they had done training drills with the Canadian Coast Guards, one of the resellers from a helicopter got almost and electric shock from the release of the static electricity that flows on the winch cable that blew him literally off the boat. As much as I could explain to them in my broken English, at that time, before I was accepted as a student at the University of Toronto, where I improved it: Danger is my business. Work at extreme danger is my specialty/ I will find a solution to that problem and I explained to them that was not a problem for me because I will use different type of ropes and different approach. Only Toronto Police Officer Sandy Lupo was supporting me on this cause, because he has seen me in action and how I deal with in harsh environment, under pressure in extreme circumstances and how I deal with the circumstances of “hostile takeover” and recover after a shock therapy due to my bold projects.
So, I called the Office of “The Guinness Book of World Records” in London, wrote them the whole scenario of the event and after I received their Letter of Acknowledgement with the Guidelines to follow in order to recognize officially the world record, I got busy with the paper work and big time politics at that time. I had no idea that the flying, training and aerial acrobatics would be the easiest thing to do:)
I was pretty young, too eiger and naive at that time to recognize the challenges from being so bold, the impact on my industry and the reflection that it could resonance on the whole emergency response community, SAR and volunteer rescue organizations and above all on the EMS 911 System. But the Mayor of Toronto Mel Lastman, a two time world record holder liked so much the idea that he hired me later to do my aerial acrobatics with the same twin engine AS 350 Eurocopter helicopter for his Mayoral Golf Charity Golf Tournament. We raised together over $440,000 for his causes for the City of Toronto and Hospitals in Ontario.
I hired a twin engine helicopter to do the tests for descending and ascending on a rope from the air, as the minimum 4 hours of flying time, as the helicopter company owner and the pilot requested. I go all the rope I had an ever borrowed from some friends in the rope access business, just to reach my length in mine 0 the One K – One kilometer on the vertical. But I was so experienced and I guess good at what I was doing, so I did it successfully from the very first time.
The event took place over Lake Ontario, at the CNE (Canadian National Exhibition) and was captured by the local media and TV stations. Later, for the 2nd Annual Law Enforcement and Emergency Services Appreciation Day, I demonstrated my donation of emergency vehicles to the Search and Rescue motorized unit of H.E.A.R.T. At the last and 3rd Annual Law Enforcement and Emergency Services Appreciation Day, I was given the honor to be leading the parade of the event along with his peers from the Royal Canadian Mounting Police (RCMP) and members of the leading Canadian law enforcement.
Join me for a coffee at Stand No: A39, at Hall, Intersec 2018, to hear the rest of the story:)