lunes, 27 de diciembre de 2010

... los de Esquimalt ayudan a Santa Clauss

CFB Esquimalt helps track Santa's route


It’s official.

Santa is on his way, and rest assured that if he needs help once he flies into B.C. tonight (Dec. 24), he’ll be in good hands.

While the wee ones lay tucked in their beds, Capt. Dominique Lassonde of the Canadian Air Force will remain on alert at CFB Esquimalt. The pilot, together with Coast Guard officials, will keep watch for the man in red over computer screens at the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre at CFB Esquimalt.

“We’re ready,” the seasoned air force pilot says. “But Santa’s been doing this since the 16th century and he hasn’t hit anything. I’m sure he keeps his equipment upgraded.”

The high-tech rescue centre organizes air, marine and land rescue efforts anytime a distress call comes in for B.C. and the Yukon, and up to 1,500 kilometres out into the Pacific Ocean. It’s Lassonde’s job to co-ordinate air rescues.

The team works in conjunction with North American Aerospace Defence Command, which provides surveillance on hundreds of ships and planes approaching the continent.

For more than 50 years, NORAD Santa trackers have been keeping watch for Mr. Claus. They spend Christmas Eve answering phones and responding to e-mails from children wanting to know where Santa is.

“We could get a call from NORAD that Blitzen has a sore leg, and they have to put down somewhere,” Lassonde explains of a possible emergency scenario.

Numerous military aircraft, ships and Coast Guard vessels can be called upon at a moment’s notice to assist the jolly old elf and his nine reindeer.

“It’s exciting,” Lassonde says of his job. “I get to be here when the kids get their toys and in case Santa needs help. It’s all about the kids.”

For updates on Santa’s Christmas Eve journey, please visit Children are also invited to call NORAD headquarters toll-free at 1-877-446-6723, or e-mail

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