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Emergency directive for Sikorsky S-92A helicopters

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sikorsky S92A helicopters are expected to be grounded until the mounting stud on the main gearbox filter bowl are changed. Following examination of the wreckage from a Canadian helicopter crash, the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is developing an emergency safety directive for operators of similar Sikorsky helicopters to change titanium studs to steel studs before any S-92A helicopters can take to the air again.

Cougar Helicopters Flight 91 crashed into the north Atlantic Ocean last Friday, March 13, killing 17 of the 18 people on board. All bodies were recovered Tuesday and they have been released by the coroner to their families. The voice and flight data recorders have been retrieved and are in good condition. They have been sent to Ottawa for examination by aviation officials.

Mr. Robert Decker was the only survivor and has not recovered enough to speak with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). “Mr. Decker was back in the fuselage and what happened during the occurrence, happened in the cockpit and Mr. Decker wouldn’t be privy to that. But on the issue of survivability, he may be able to help with that,” said Dave Cunningham, of the Transportation Safety Board.

A review of immersion suit standards of the two year old suits worn during this trip is being called for by the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, Danny Williams. Williams is also urging for a review of offshore safety procedures, including placement of search and rescue aircraft closer to the capital.

The final report on the crash will take about a year to compile, however Cunningham will speak to the media at the end of next week.

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