Worst marine tragedy since the Ocean Ranger
Helicopter tragedy includes Trinity Conception residents among victims
Paul Pike, 49 of Shearstown and Corey Eddy, 32 of Paradise ( originally from Sibley’s Cove) have been identified among the passengers on board the ill-fated helicopter, which went down in the Atlantic off Newfoundland last week.
Their names were among those the RCMP released, with permission from families, over the weekend.
Only one of the 18 people on board, Robert Decker of St. John’s,
survived the crash — the province’s worst marine tragedy since the Ocean Ranger disaster, which claimed 84 lives in February 1982.
A body recovered Thursday March 12, shortly after the crash, was identified as Allison Maher, 26 of Aquaforte on the Southern Shore.
After about 30 hours of searching the frigid waters, by Friday night the search and rescue mission turned sadly into a search and recovery.
That’s when the accident scene was turned over to the RCMP and Transportation Safety Board of Canada ( TSB).
Search and rescue operations officially ended 7: 30 p. m. Friday, March 13, after covering 1,200 square nautical miles of ocean.
No more survivors
Maj. Dennis McGuire of the coast guard’s joint rescue coordination center delivered the grim news: “As of this time there are no other persons that we’ve located whatsoever, so it appears that there are no survivors.
“ Right now we have the one confirmed survivor that was recovered ( Thursday).”
Chief Superintendent Reg Reeves, RCMP Criminal Operations Officer read out the list of names of those lost during a live news conference Saturday afternoon.
Before making the names public Chief Superintendent Reeves said,“ some families have requested that we not release the name of their loved ones. We will respect their wishes and only release the names of those listed below: They are: Tim Lanouette, 48 years, Comox, B. C., first officer ( pilot). Thomas Anwyll, 46, Langley, B. C. Peter Breen, 55, St. John’s. Gary Corbett, 46, Conception Bay South. Wade Drake, 42, Fortune. Wade Duggan, 32, Witless Bay. Corey Eddy, 32, Paradise ( originally from Sibley’s Cove). Colin Henley, 38, St. John’s. Ken MacRae, 47, Greenwood, Nova Scotia. Derrick Mullowney, 51, Bay Bulls. Burch Nash, 44, Fortune. Paul Pike, 49, Shearstown. RCMP role Chief Superintendent Reeves explained,“the role of the RCMP is to investigate under the provincial Fatalities Investigations Act, and our members are essentially the Medical Examiner’s investigators. The RCMP will collect, catalogue and return items recovered, particularly personal items, from the crash site.
“ We are also involved in notification of next of kin and continual liaison with the family to provide timely and accurate information,” the RCMP spokesman said.
The RCMP is involved in the investigation of all major aircraft crashes and incidents of sudden, unexpected death. “ Our members work with the Chief Medical Examiner to conduct an investigation to rule out any possibility of foul play,” the police spokesman explained.
During this event, the RCMP has engaged a team of investigators from the Major Crimes Unit and Forensic Identification Services. The team is on site in the crash area. They will investigate the sudden death of the casualties, assist in recovery operations and investigate missing persons cases.
As part of the recovery operations, meanwhile, Transportation Safety Board investigators located the submerged helicopter over the weekend. Using two ROVs ( remote operated vehicles) equipped with underwater cameras, the fuselage was discovered lying on its side in about 120 metres ( more than 400 feet) of water.
Investigators hope to be able to raise the helicopter to the surface on Monday or Tuesday as part of the ongoing recovery operation.
Homeward bound - A Cougar helicopter similar to the Sikorsky S-92 which ditched in the Atlantic off Newfoundland last week returns to home base. The ill-fated chopper was ferrying offshore oil workers to the White Rose and Hibernia oil fields when the accident occurred Thursday morning, March 12. Photographer Dennis Flynn, who snapped this photo before last week’s tragedy said, from now on any time he sees a helicopter flying, he will “never look at it in the same light again.”