Search and Rescue: When Disaster Strikes


160 pages
Contains Photos
ISBN 0-590-51567-5
DDC j363.34'81






Reviewed by Alison Mews

Alison Mews is co-ordinator of the Centre for Instructional Services at
Memorial University of Newfoundland.


Recounted in this exciting book are 13 stories of actual heroic rescues
performed by the Canadian Air Force and the U.S. Coast Guard. The
rescues took place between 1971 and 1997 in various parts of North

Each chapter describes a different disaster and the sensational rescue
that followed. The dramatic chapter headings (e.g., “Snatched from a
Flood,” “Slammed into a Mountain,” and “Dive into Death”) are
indicative of Melady’s writing style; his prose maintains a high level
of suspense by employing foreshadowing, superlatives, and warnings of
dire consequences.

Each chapter recounts the events leading up to the disaster and
provides a detailed account of the rescue attempt and final outcome.
Quotes of the survivors and rescuers add authenticity and immediacy. For
those readers knowledgeable about military aircraft, Melady specifies
models used in the operation (e.g., HH-3F Sikorsky Pelican helicopter).
A glossary of specialized terms and numerous black-and-white photographs
supplement the volume.

Melady’s admiration and respect for the highly trained professionals
who undertake search-and-rescue operations is obvious when he describes
the extreme circumstances under which they willingly risk their lives
for strangers. Readers of all ages who appreciate the extraordinary
feats of ordinary people will enjoy this book. Recommended.


Melady, John., “Search and Rescue: When Disaster Strikes,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed December 1, 2022,