EPISODE 461 SIKORSKY HELICOPTERS ON BERING SEA GAS DROP
On the Alaska job in 1959 everything needed had to be ferried by
S 52 helicopters to the site in the interior of SW Alaska…the barren lands.
Gasoline was hung in a cargo net beneath the helicopter with an
emergency lever beside the pilot. In the event of a sudden downdraft
he would hit the lever and drop the load. I was told (ture or false) that
a diamond drill hung in this fashion had to be suddenly dropped in a
sudden down draft. No one ever tried to retrieve it as it fell like a great
speer into the spongy land below.
We were ferried to our job sites every morning by S 52's from our base camp when the ex-US air force pilots would yell into the loud speaker.
“Let's get fucking airborne”.
As mentioned in an earlier Episode, our 5 man Canadian crew were
all armed with 30-06 rifles in case of Kodiak bear attacks. We could
not carry the rifles and the survey gear so stacked the rifles at the
drop site each day. No Kodiak bear attacked us. Why? I was told
bears find the smell of humans awful. Probably true in our case.
This job on the Alaskan barren lands was my training field for the
job in Ireland in 1960…thanks to field man Bill Morrison.
Our base camp held 30 men … 5 Canadians and 25 American diamond
drillers. Too many had revolvers in my opinion…and used them
too often. One of the drillers (nice guy normally) said” “Watch this!”
And he made a quick draw from his holster and fired at a beaver in
the creek below camp. He killed the poor thing. He did not mean to
do this. This incident is one reason I dislike guns. People do stupid
things with guns.
P.S. When the job was over the camp was bull dozed over the
little cliff and covered with rubbish and soil. Too expensive to
retrieve. The site may become one of the largest copper mining
sites in the US…but is currently just a barren land with creeks
annually filled with salmon trying to spawn and then die much to
the enjoyment of kodiak bears…all of whom are well fed.
Canadian crew….Mike Chinnery (boss), Dr. John Stam (boss),
Don Van Every, Ian Rutherford, Bill Morrison and Alan Skeoch (field men…realy university of Toronto students)
Location….Dillingham, Alaska on Bering Sea which was once
the land bridge from Siberia to North America 10, 000 years ago.