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MP calls for review of Cougar Flight 491 crash

Aug. 28, 2009, St. John's, N.L. - The Defence Department has failed to do the necessary followup review of the crash of Cougar Flight 491 off Newfoundland, the MP for St. John's East charged Thursday.


August 28, 2009
By Canadian Press

Aug. 28, 2009, St. John's, N.L. – The Defence Department has failed to do the
necessary followup review of the crash of Cougar Flight 491 off
Newfoundland, the MP for St. John's East charged Thursday.

Jack Harris said during a news conference that the department has
yet to compile reports on the March 12 crash that would have
generated valuable answers for improving search and rescue capacity.

The New Democrat called the absence of such reports "a serious
lack of followup'' by search and rescue, which falls under Defence
Department.

"There are things that could be improved upon,'' Harris said.
"There is a need for a followup when something as tragic as the
Cougar helicopter crash takes place.''

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Seventeen people were killed March 12 when Cougar's Sikorsky
S-92A helicopter went down in the Atlantic Ocean east of St. John's
as it carried workers to offshore platforms.

Harris learned of Defence's lack of a review of the crash and
rescue effort through requests under the federal Access to
Information Act.

He said he was advised a couple of days ago that no such
documents exist.

He said a number of questions need to be answered about the
search-and-rescue response to the crash, such as the impact of
choppers from Gander, N.L., being off Nova Scotia for training when
it occurred.

Harris said he wants to know why Defence Minister Peter MacKay
didn't request a review of the Cougar crash. He also wants know i
the minister or department is prepared to conduct one now.

One federal agency, the Transportation Safety Board, is probing
the Cougar crash. As well, the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador
Offshore Petroleum Board will hold an inquiry.