Two Burin Peninsula men go down on Cougar helicopter 911
The St. Patrick’s Day weekend is generally joyous on the Southern Shore, but after Thursday’s tragic helicopter crash, there will be mourning, not merriment, in the area rich in Irish heritage.
Bay Bulls Mayor Don Drew said Friday afternoon “The community is in just a comatose state.
“Not just the community of Bay Bulls, the whole Southern Shore. … From the Goulds to Cappahayden to Trepassey, there’s not too many families that haven’t been touched by this one.”
It’s thought between six and eight people from the large but close- knit region could have been among the 18 people onboard Cougar Helicopters Flight 911.
Mr. Drew said only one of them hailed from Bay Bulls, and he knew the man very well.
The Southern Shore might turn out to be the region hit hardest by the tragedy, but the entire province was hurting from the crash.
The town of Fortune on the Burin Peninsula is among the places that will need resilience.
It was also shaken, as two men closely connected to the community are said to have been on the helicopter.
One is a current resident and father of two young girls. The other was reared in Fortune, but moved away. He is also a father, and his parents still reside in Fortune.
Fortune Mayor Alec Noseworthy said there was gloom in the community, and there were sad conversations everywhere he went Friday afternoon. “It’s bad actually, a real bad scene.” Grand Bank MHA Darin King called Thursday a sad day for the province and a sad day for the peninsula.
Two of the missing men had connections to Mr. King’s hometown of Fortune.
“I don’t think there’s anybody that would not have felt this in someway or another, whether it’s because they’re connected to the current tragedy or it brings back memories of a tragedy from days gone by that affected their family.
“It’s a tough thing to get through and certainly my heart and my prayers go out for all the families.”
Burin-Placentia West MHA Clyde Jackman also offered his thoughts and prayers to the individuals and families affected by the crash.
He suggested the region’s connection to the vessel ( SeaRose FPSO), where most of those on board the helicopter were headed, made the event all the more real.
Fabrication work on the ship was completed in Marystown just a few years ago.
“The thing that struck me is that the peninsula has been involved in the oil industry very much on the construction side.
“We have people who work offshore. When you hear that one of the stops that these people were going to make was on the ‘SeaRose FPSO’ it brings that even closer to home then.”
It was unknown at press time how many aboard the flight were from St. John’s, but survivor Robert Decker is from the capital city.
St. John’s Mayor Dennis O’Keefe offered his condolences to every- one affected.
“Marine disasters like this one remind us of our innate tie to the sea and our tenacity to operate in harsh weather environments.
“Resilience has brought us to where we are today, and resilience will guide us again in future.”
Mr. Drew estimated 30 per cent of the people on the Southern Shore work in the oil industry, either off Newfoundland or elsewhere in the world.
He figured another 35 per cent are employed in different aspects of the fishery.
With such a large portion of the population making a living from the water, the soft-spoken mayor seemed to expect the tragedy would resonate with many, and no doubt for a lot of weekends to come.
“Every family, our kids and all, is affected.”
St. John’s Telegram
Fortune Mayor Alec Noseworthy described the mood in his town Friday as “It’s bad actually, a real bad scene.”