Search and rescue officials say they can cope with N.L. choppers down
Oct. 22, 2008, St. John's N.L. - Authorities say there's no cause for concern even though the main search and rescue aircraft for Newfoundland and Labrador are currently out of service.
Oct. 22, 2008, St. John's N.L. – Authorities say there's no cause for concern even though the main search and rescue aircraft for Newfoundland and Labrador are currently out of service.
The four Cormorant helicopters stationed at 103 Search and Rescue Squadron in Gander are unavailable for the time being. Cases are now being handled by bases in Greenwood and Shearwater in Nova Scotia.
Cmdr. Mike Considine of the Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Halifax says these situations don't occur often, but they always have a plan in place to use Cormorants out of Greenwood or Sea Kings from Shearwater.
“I don't think that people plying their way on the ocean – fishermen, commercial people – should have any more concern than they would normally have,'' says Considine.
“The search and rescue system will do what it needs to do to deal with a situation, should it arise.''
Currently, one of the Gander Cormorants is in Iqaluit with a maintenance issue although it's soon expected back in Newfoundland, and another is still being assessed after a night training accident last week damaged its blades.
The two other choppers are in for scheduled maintenance.
Meantime, Considine says 5 Wing Goose Bay in Labrador has Griffon helicopters that can be used for operations over the water, but they prefer Cormorants or Sea Kings. He says those out on the water should not be concerned that rescue officials will take longer to reach them.