CONCLUDED WITH NO LOSS OF LIFE AND FEW INJURIES
LAMBTON COUNTY, ON, Dec. 17 /CNW/ - The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP)
and its many partners who worked to rescue motorists stranded on
Highway 402 in the storm earlier this week are elated that the
operation concluded with few injuries and no loss of life.
"I have already told the OPP personnel involved that they are quite
simply the best at what they do. I am very proud at how efficiently and
safely this operation was conducted by all those involved," said OPP
Commissioner Chris D. Lewis. "I also want to thank all our partners and
the community for their skilled professionalism and seamless
contribution. The Highway 402 rescue and cleanup was a great example of
inter-governmental and inter-agency cooperation."
An estimated 350 vehicles were stranded on Highway 402 during the storm.
The OPP led the rescue operation and -- with the assistance of the
Canadian Forces, county and municipal emergency responders -- removed
237 motorists from the highway on December 14. Emergency Management
Ontario coordinated the provincial response. The Ontario Ministry of
Transportation (MTO) worked to clear roads and support the rescue.
"Our search and rescue technicians, air crew and ground-based searchers
are proud to have assisted the OPP and the province of Ontario in
providing aid to stranded motorists this week. The Canadian Forces
stands ready to provide assistance, when requested by our security
partners and the provincial authorities. I must commend the great work
done by the OPP and the Ontario emergency services during this crisis
and thank them for welcoming us onto their team during this
time-sensitive operation," said Lieutenant-General Walter Semianiw,
Commander of Canada Command, the organization responsible for Canadian
Forces operations in North America.
Lambton County and municipal emergency responders and personnel, private
businesses, motorized snow vehicle operators, and private citizens also
played a critical part including assisting with the rescue, clearing
secondary roads, opening their homes to stranded motorists, providing
food and clothing and establishing 'warming centres'.
"We are grateful for the expertise of Lambton OPP officers and the
outstanding rescue efforts contributed by the military while in the air
and on the ground," said Lambton County Warden Steve Arnold. "These
people, along with volunteers who helped in the rescue efforts, are to
be credited for contributing to the successful outcome of this
Highway 402 is now open in both directions, but OPP and MTO are urging
motorists to be prepared and drive according to conditions.
"Thanks to the dedication and professionalism of OPP officers, first
responders and members of the Canadian Forces, hundreds of stranded
motorists were rescued from the storm," said Jim Bradley, Minister of
Community Safety and Correctional Services. "I also want to recognize
the generosity of the many volunteers who welcomed strangers in their
homes, offered them food and comfort in reception centres and went out
in the snowy cold to look for people trapped in their vehicles. All
these people exemplify the best of Ontario."
The OPP is reminding the motorists and the public not to call the OPP
for road conditions, but to call the MTO at 1-800-268-4686.
With plenty of winter driving ahead, motorists are encouraged to visit
the MTO website at http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/safety/winterdrive/winterdrive.shtml for tips on proper preparation for safe winter driving.
SOURCE Ontario Provincial Police
For further information: For further information:
Sergeant David Rektor