2009 Griffon crash findings released
July 20, 2011, Ottawa - The final report of the Board of Inquiry (BOI) into the 6 July 2009 crash of Canadian Griffon helicopter (CH-146) in support of Operation ATHENA was released today.
By Carey Fredericks
The BOI found two direct contributing factors, human error and conditions of the landing zone. The Board also made recommendations regarding operating standards and procedures, training, equipment use, and safety measures.
"I am satisfied with the results of the BOI and it is important to note that 12 out of the 18 recommendations have already been implemented during predeployment preparations and training in Canada and in support our forces in Afghanistan to ensure crashes of this scale are prevented in the future," stated Lieutenant-General Lessard. Some of the recommendations implemented, include improvements in the standards for landing zones and in the training of crews operating in poor visibility conditions. The remaining recommendations are currently undergoing implementation or being carefully considered by Air Force staff, who will take appropriate action with the aim of preventing this kind of accident from recurring.
Killed in the Griffon helicopter crash were Master Corporal Pat Audet from 430e Escadron tactique d'helicopteres based at Canadian Forces Base Valcartier and Corporal Martin Joannette from the 3e Bataillon, Royal 22e Regiment also based at Canadian Forces Base Valcartier, near Quebec City, along with one British soldier.
On 23 July 2009, Lt-Gen. Marc Lessard, Commander Canadian Expeditionary Force Command convened the BOI to gain a clear understanding of the specific details of circumstances surrounding the cause of the crash. In accordance with the Convening Authority's intent, the final report of the BOI is based on a thorough analysis of interviews of all relevant witnesses, evidence received, and a review of all pertinent legislations, regulations, orders, directives and instructions in place at the time. The Board also reviewed all pertinent investigation reports and in-theatre military police reports.
A BOI is an administrative inquiry normally convened to examine and report on complex or significant events. It serves to determine what occurred, how and why it occurred and proposes measures that might prevent the possibility of recurrence. It is not a criminal investigation.