‘Intensive’ rescue operation needed to save Seniors’ Hall of Fame at Lake Laurentian

Dr Ronald Wallingford, 88, was found in an area so difficult to access that two rescue teams were called. A retired teacher and author, Wallingford is a sports hall of famer who has held national running and Boston Marathon records.

A missing person case became a complex search and rescue operation in the Lake Laurentian Conservation Area on May 9, when 88-year-old three-time author, athlete and former Laurentian University professor Ronald Wallingford , disappeared from his home.

Wallingford was located by Greater Sudbury Police and rescued by Greater Sudbury Fire Services after water and high angle search and rescue techniques were employed.

Kaitlyn Dunn, spokesperson for Greater Sudbury Police, told Sudbury.com they received a call around 12:55 p.m. that Wallingford was missing from his home. A tweet from GSPS noted that they were focusing their search in the Laurentian Conservation Area and using a drone, or remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS), to assist officers.

Wallingford was located by officers around 3:30 p.m., at which time it was determined that a more intensive rescue operation would be required, and Greater Sudbury Fire Services were called.

Deputy Chief Jesse Oshell told Sudbury.com that Wallingford was on a very steep rock face, so steep that Oshell noted he wasn’t sure how Wallingford even got there. the area where he was found. Oshell described it as “a hard-to-reach area adjacent to Ramsey Lake, off Keast Drive at the south end of Sudbury”.

Oshell said that to his knowledge, the location where Wallingford was found was about a mile “as the crow flies” from Wallingford’s residence. He said that when found, Wallingford appeared dehydrated and tired, but otherwise in good health.

The rescue operation was carried out in an area which he described as “very difficult, if not impossible, for the individual to get out on their own, without assistance”.

Oshell said Greater Sudbury Fire Services technical lifeguards, both aquatic and high-angle, are still on duty. “They’re always ready so when we get called it’s a very quick response, basically travel time to location.”

Oshell said that once there, rescue teams began planning to use both the water rescue team from the Lake Ramsey side to recover Wallingford from the water side. If that was impractical, the high-angle rescue team was also in place to get him out that way.

Turns out the wide angle worked the best. “Our high-angle rescuers were able to assist and come up with a quick action plan,” Oshell said. “We safely created a rope system to descend with first responders, assess the individual and then do what we call ‘packing’ – we placed the individual in a specialist rescue basket secured for safety and we used our rope systems to remove the individual from the area. »

Although close to the water, Oshell said the high-angle route was chosen because “sometimes when we’re dealing with the water situation, if there isn’t an area where we can bring the boat straight ashore, and since it was an elderly person, we weren’t sure if we were going to be able to get them safely across the land and into the boat,” he said. “So we always do what is best and safest for the patient.”

After less than an hour, Oshell said, Wallingford was rescued, assessed by waiting paramedics and returned to his family.

Wallingford is known in Sudbury for his commitment to helping athletes achieve their goals, especially those of Laurentian University students. Born in Ottawa in 1933, Wallingford had a rich athletic career in addition to being a respected university professor at Laurentian’s School of Human Kinetics.

He was captain of the University of Michigan track team that won the Big Ten championships in the 1950s. Wallingford later served in the prestigious positions of Canadian track and field technical coordinator and technical director of the Canadian Athletics Association (CTFA), and was race director for the Montreal Olympic Marathon in 1976.

For more than 20 years, Wallingford competed at the highest levels in Canada in events ranging from 1500m to marathon and held the Canadian record for the 3000m steeplechase. He placed sixth in Canada at the 1966 Commonwealth Games and competed in three Pan American Games – Chicago (1959), Winnipeg (1967) and Cali (1971).

Twice he set the fastest times ever for a Canadian marathon, including a third-place finish in the 1964 Boston Marathon with a time of two hours, 20 minutes and 51 seconds. This beat the fastest Canadian time for a marathon by more than two minutes and was the fourth fastest time ever recorded in this marathon over the official distance.

In 2002, Wallingford was inducted into the Laurentian University Hall of Fame as a “builder.” He was inducted as a member of the Sudbury Sports Hall of Fame in 2009. In 2020, he was named to his third Hall of Fame, when Athletics Ontario named him one of five inductees that year -the. During his time as a university professor, Wallingford devoted his research to human hypothermia in cold water, the physiology of exercise, and the physiological basis of human performance.

He is the author of three novels on athletics, Chasing the Olympic Dream, Portrait of a runner and Never give up.