Ordeal in the Arctic

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Ordeal In The Arctic
Directed by Mark Sobel
Written by Robert Mason Lee
Paul Edwards
Patrick Huard
Kevin Tierney
Starring Richard Chamberlain
Catherine Mary Stewart
Melanie Mayron
Scott Hylands
Page Fletcher
Distributed by ABC
Release dates 15 February 1993
Running time 96 min.
Country Canada
Language English

Ordeal in the Arctic is a made-for-television movie, written by Paul F. Edwards and directed by Mark Sobel.

The film is an adaptation of Robert Mason Lee's non-fiction book Death and Deliverance which is based on the 1991 plane crash of a Canadian Forces CC-130 Hercules (a part of Operation Boxtop 22) en route to CFS Alert on Ellesmere Island with 18 crew and passengers on board.[1]


While heading to Alert in the far north on October 30, 1991, pilot Captain John Couch misjudged his altitude and crashed just a few miles from the base. Master Corporal Roland Pitre, the loadmaster, was the first to die while three others would also not survive the impact: Warrant Officer Robert Grimsley, Master Warrant Officer Tom Jardine, and Captain Judy Trépanier. Of the remaining survivors, Susan Hillier and Master Corporal David Meace could not be moved to the tail end of the plane with the others due to possible spinal injuries. During the 32-hour ordeal, Couch made multiple trips to check on Sue and Dave, while Wilma De Groot kept the others calm. Unfortunately, Couch would die in the cold weather.

Although they were able to see the base prior to the crash, blizzard-like conditions prevented anyone from going for help. Once search and rescue crews were sent to look for the plane, survivors were able to communicate with Boxtop 21 searching by air using a two-way radio. As the weather calmed, Search And Rescue (SAR) Technicians were able to parachute down to the site while those searching by ground arrived soon after.


  1. ^ Death and Deliverance by Robert Mason Lee

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