MISSISSAUGA, ON, June 15, 2016 /CNW/ - Ornge, Ontario's provider of air ambulance and related services, reaffirms its commitment to crew and patient safety following the release of the Transportation Safety Board of Canada investigation report into the 2013 Moosonee helicopter accident.
"We deeply regret the loss of our dear colleagues who died in service to the Ontario public, and our thoughts remain with their family members," said Dr. Andrew McCallum, President and CEO of Ornge. "We will continue to honour the memory of the Moosonee crew with an unwavering commitment to protecting the safety of our patients, paramedics and pilots."
On May 31, 2013, an air ambulance helicopter crashed shortly after it departed the Ornge Moosonee base en route to perform a patient transport. Captain Don Filliter, First Officer Jacques Dupuy, Flight Paramedics Chris Snowball and Dustin Dagenais died in the accident. Over the past three years, Ornge has cooperated fully with the TSB throughout the investigative process.
"Immediately following the accident, we initiated a full review of our safety processes, procedures and technology and took steps to minimize risk," said Dr. McCallum.
On pages 163-166 of its report, the TSB outlines many of the safety actions taken by Ornge. Among the enhancements put into place:
- The legacy Sikorsky S76A model helicopter has been retired from the provincial air ambulance fleet and replaced with the modern AW139 helicopter. Ornge's Kenora and Thunder Bay bases transitioned to the new aircraft in 2014 and the Moosonee base transition is currently underway. The AW139 helicopter has advanced avionics, safety equipment and meets the highest certification standards.
- Ornge is in the process of introducing Night Vision Goggles (NVG) in its helicopter fleet. In 2015, a trial of this technology was conducted in northern Ontario, and feedback from frontline staff was overwhelmingly positive. Additional northern-based aircraft will be outfitted with NVGs this summer and fall, with completion across the fleet by the end of 2017.
- A Proficiency Flying Program was introduced, requiring pilots to conduct certain specific exercises and minimum flight time within a 90 day period. These exercises are above and beyond what is required by regulation.
- Key personnel with extensive rotor wing experience have joined the aviation management team, including a new Director of Aviation Safety, Director of Maintenance and Manager of Flight Training and Standards.
"With the investigation now complete, we will review and study the recommendations and findings outlined in the report carefully as we strive to be industry leaders in safety," said Dr. McCallum.
Ornge, a not-for-profit organization, co-ordinates all aspects of Ontario's air ambulance system, the critical care land transport program, paediatric transport program and the authorization of air and land ambulance transfers between hospitals. Ornge performs more than 18,000 patient related transports in Ontario each year.
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