Mid-January is the coldest time of year in Northern Canada. The first problem the survivors face is the preservation of body heat and the protection against loss. This problem can be solved by building a fire, minimizing movement and exertion, using as much insulation as possible and constructing a shelter.
The participants have just crash landed. Many individuals the enormous shock reaction this has on the human body, and the deaths of the pilot and co-pilot increases the shock. Decision making under such circumstances is extremely difficult. Such a situation requires a strong emphasis on the use of reasoning for making decisions and for reducing fear and panic. Shock would be shown in the survivors by feelings of helplessness, loneliness, hopelessness, and fear. These feelings have brought about more fatalities than perhaps and other cause in survival situations. Certainly the state of shock means the movement of the survivors should be at a minimum, and that an attempt to calm them should be made.
Before taking off, a pilot has to file a flight plan which contains vital information such as the course, speed, estimated time of arrival, type of aircraft, and number of passengers. Search and rescue operations begin shortly after the failure of a plane to appear at its destination at the estimated time of arrival.
The 20 miles to the nearest town is a long walk under even ideal conditions, particularly if one is not used to walking such distances. In this situation, the walk is even more difficult due to shock, snow, dress, and water barriers. It would mean almost certain death from freezing and exhaustion. At temperatures of minus 25 to minus 40, the loss of body heat through exertion is a very serious matter.
Once the survivors have found ways to keep warm, their next task is to attack the attention of search planes. Thus, all the items the group has salvaged must be assessed for their value in signaling the group’s whereabouts.