The Fire Department was called to transport an injured Canadian naval officer to Petaluma Valley Hospital, who was flown by helicopter to the Petaluma Municipal Airport on Wednesday.

According to Petaluma Fire Battalion Chief Phil Sutsos, the fire department received the call at about 1 p.m. on Dec. 12 of a military-sized chopper that was too big to land at Petaluma Valley Hospital, carrying a naval officer who had injured his hand while on a ship in the Pacific Ocean, about 80 miles off shore. Medics and fire units were dispatched to the airport, where they found a Canadian officer with a broken hand in need of surgery.

Upon speaking with Canadian officials, Sutsos learned that the naval ship had recently finished a large cocaine bust somewhere in Central America, and was heading back to Canada when the officer hurt his hand.

"We transported him to Petaluma Valley, where he'll be staying for several days while he gets surgery and recovers," said Sutsos. "It's just not something you see everyday."

Sutsos said that after leaving the Canadian officer in the care of Petaluma fire personnel, the large military chopper refueled and returned to the naval vessel out at sea.

(Contact Janelle Wetzstein at