When massive flooding struck B.C. earlier this week, B.C. aviators jumped into action. The flooding damaged major highways leading to the Greater Vancouver area, disrupting supply chains and inconveniencing thousands. Hope, a small town about 150 km. east of Vancouver, is the intersection of all those routes and more than 1,000 travelers ended up stuck there for as long as three days. With supplies and fuel running out, the call went out to set up a sky bridge for those with the most compelling reasons to leave Hope.
At first, commercial and charter operators headed to Hope’s 5,000-foot grass strip to take paying customers over the washouts to Chilliwack and other Fraser Valley communities where they could resume their land journeys. The military also flew more than 300 motorists trapped by slides from a section of Highway 7. Private pilots joined the effort and, in strict observance of Transport Canada regulations, volunteered their time, their planes and their fuel to get at least some folks out. All reports point to a safe, orderly and professional effort from the pilot volunteers. The air bridge was closed down on Wednesday when crews were able to open one lane of Highway 7 to allow the Hope refugees to continue their trips to the Coast.