Burton Winters’ family welcomes inquiry announcement
Premier Dwight Ball says scope of 2019 inquiry will be determined in co-ordination with federal government
The announcement Dec. 4 that an inquiry will be established in 2019 into search and rescue services in the province was a long time coming for the family and friends of Burton Winters.
Winters, 14, died after he went snowmobiling near Makkovik in 2012. His body was found three days after he was reported missing. Search and rescue helicopters were not called to look for him until two days after the report, something that caused widespread concern.
The provincial inquiry — which will not focus on any one incident, but will examine how services as a whole are provided in this province — hopes to answer why there was such a delay in the Burton Winters case, and what measures can be put in place to ensure such a situation doesn’t happen again.
Tommy Williams, the lawyer representing the Winters family, said it has been tough on the family waiting for answers these past six years. He said, however, the family is pleased the inquiry will proceed.
“They have a lot of unanswered questions,” Williams said. “With respect to what elements are going to come up in this inquiry, whether any particular section or phase will be referring to Burton Winters, we are still in the early stages to see that. I don’t want to pass judgment in terms of what the inquiry would cover until I see the terms of reference.
“These inquiry processes delve down deeply into how these things function. So it’s not just totally centred on Burton for the family. They know there are other families that experience these type of losses, as well.
A search and rescue technician from 103 Search and Rescue Squadron out of 9 Wing Gander is lowered from a Cormorant helicopter to the deck of the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Pennant Bay during a training exercise.