Aviation news release 2011

TSB # A03/2011

TSB Grants Extension to Department of Transport for Response to Cougar Helicopter Investigation Recommendations

(Gatineau, Quebec, 10 May, 2011) — The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) has extended the time in which the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities shall provide a response to the TSB's findings and recommendations on its investigation into the 12 March, 2009, crash of a Sikorsky S-92A helicopter off the coast of Newfoundland.

"These are exceptional circumstances" says Wendy Tadros, Chair of the TSB. "A new Minister will be appointed in the coming weeks and that Minister will have to be brought up to speed on these critical safety issues."

The Act governing the work of the TSB requires the Minister to respond to TSB findings and recommendations within 90 days of being notified. However, the Act also provides that the Board may extend that period when it is "satisfied that the Minister is unable to reply to the Board within the period" (Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act, S.C. 1989, c. 3, s. 24(8)).

"These recommendations are important to the offshore oil industry and to all Canadians travelling by helicopter over water," says Tadros. "Having the new Minister sign the response allows for greater accountability for the implementation of the proposed actions. That is why the time period has been extended to 6 June 2011."

The helicopter, which was taking workers to the offshore Hibernia oil production platform, went down approximately 35 nautical miles from St. John's. Only one of the 18 on board survived.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates marine, pipeline, railway and aviation transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

For more information, contact:
Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Media Relations
Telephone: 819-994-8053
Email: media@tsb.gc.ca