Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Arctic coast guard helicopter crash kills 3 - WHY IS A $80K/DAY ICEBREAKER IN MCCLURE STRAIT? THE REST OF THE STORY IS NOT REPORTED IN THE MEDIA

Undoubtedly there is more to this story which is not being reported or is unknown by the Media... continue to follow for updates. I dare not report what an ex-coastie told me yesterday but suffice it to say the investigation should help improve the dangerous service these men face in Arctic waters.

The crash occurred on Monday evening in the McClure Strait, about 600 kilometres west of Resolute.


Canada's Transportation Safety Board is investigating a tragic incident in which three men were killed Monday when the helicopter they were on crashed into the Arctic Ocean.
The helicopter was on a reconnaissance mission at the time, travelling with the Amundsen, a coast guard icebreaker. There were no survivors.
The men who died were:
  • Marc Thibault, commanding officer of the CCGS Amundsen.
  • Daniel Dubé, helicopter pilot.
  • Klaus Hochheim, an Arctic scientist affiliated with the University of Manitoba.
The Amundsen had recently departed Resolute on a research voyage.
This map shows the location of the crash, about 600 kilometres west of Resolute, in the Northwest Passage north of Banks Island. This map shows the location of the crash, about 600 kilometres west of Resolute, in the Northwest Passage north of Banks Island. (CBC)
The crash occurred at 8 p.m. ET (6 p.m. MT) Monday in the McClure Strait, about 600 kilometres west of Resolute. The McClure Strait is north of Banks Island on the opposite side of the island from Sachs Harbour, N.W.T.
The helicopter, a Messerschmitt BO 105S, was doing a reconnaissance mission on the state of the ice in the area when it crashed.
A spokesperson with the Coast Guard said Tuesday that weather conditions in the area of the crash were "clear, with good visibility."
The first responder to the crash site was the Amundsen itself. The crew was able to recover the three victims, and are returning to Resolute with their bodies. All three were wearing standard issue orange emergency suits.
Marc Thibault, commanding officer of the CCGS Amundsen, was  killed Monday when the helicopter he was on crashed into the Arctic Ocean. Marc Thibault, commanding officer of the CCGS Amundsen, was killed Monday when the helicopter he was on crashed into the Arctic Ocean. (DFO)
Louis Fortier, the scientific director of the mission of which the three men were part, said their deaths came as a shock.
“Commandant Thibault and Daniel and Klaus were friends,” he said. “And this is the main message this morning, it's the sadness for those people with whom we've been working with for 10 years now and it's a major loss.”
The ship is expected to arrive back in Resolute on Wednesday.
Helicopter Pilot Daniel Dubé, who was killed in the crash, was born in Abitibi, Que., in 1957.Helicopter Pilot Daniel Dubé, who was killed in the crash, was born in Abitibi, Que., in 1957. (DFO)
Psychologists will be there when the ship arrives to offer support to the nearly 80 crew members and researchers aboard the Amundsen.

TSB reviewing incident

Thibault was born in L'Islet in the Chaudiere Appalaches region of Quebec in 1965. Dubé was born in Abitibi, Que., in 1957. He was married with four children. Hochheim was 55 years old. He leaves behind a wife and three children.
"Klaus was a friend and colleague. We're devastated at the news of his passing," said Tim Papakyriakou, one of Hochheim's colleagues at the University of Manitoba. "He was a veteran of high Arctic field campaigns and an outstanding research scientist. We extend heartfelt condolences to his family. He will be sorely missed by all."
Klaus Hochheim, 55, a passenger killed in Monday's helicopter crash in the McClure Strait, was an Arctic scientist affiliated with the University of Manitoba.Klaus Hochheim, 55, a passenger killed in Monday's helicopter crash in the McClure Strait, was an Arctic scientist affiliated with the University of Manitoba. (DFO)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper also issued a statement on the death of the three men.
"On behalf of Canadians, Laureen and I offer our deepest condolences to the families and friends of [the victims]," Harper said. "It is a grim reminder of the very real dangers faced on a regular basis by those brave individuals who conduct research and patrol our Arctic – one of the harshest and most challenging climates in the world – to better understand and protect Canada’s North."
“The courage and dedication of these three brave individuals will be honoured and remembered," the PM said.
The vessel had gone through a full crew change on Sept. 5 in Resolute.
The coast guard spokesperson said it is standard practice for helicopters to depart on reconnaissance missions to gauge ice around the ship following a crew change.
The Transportation Safety Board said Tuesday it is probing the crash.
“One of our biggest challenges is that there are no eyewitnesses," said John Lee, who is with the TSB in Edmonton. "And of course the helicopter itself, which is going to have a lot of important information for us, is located at the bottom of McClure Strait so until we retrieve the wreckage it's going to be difficult to be able to come to any kind of determination as to cause or any underlying issues.”
Lee said the TSB is still trying to figure out how it’s going to retrieve the helicopter. It's about 450 metres under water north of Banks Island.


20130918 UPDATE:

The three victims of a Canadian Coast Guard helicopter crash in the Northwest Passage died of hypothermia rather than the impact of the Arctic accident, a preliminary postmortem indicates.
Cathy Menard, Northwest Territories chief coroner, said in an interview that the findings suggest the three men who died Sept. 9 were killed by “cold water immersion.”
The bodies of Coast Guard icebreaker captain Marc Thibault, helicopter pilot Daniel Dubé and research scientist Klaus Hochheim were examined in Edmonton on Monday.
Ms. Menard said it’s estimated the men may have been in the water for up to an hour.
They were wearing survival suits and their helicopter had been scouting the sea-ice conditions when it plunged into McClure Strait off Banks Island.
The Canadian government, meanwhile, is still pondering the salvage operation to retrieve the sunken helicopter and whether to send the Amundsen and another icebreaker back to the crash site 670 kilometres west of Resolute, Nunavut.
Recovering the helicopter would help determine whether the aircraft was suffering from safety flaws that might affect copters attached to other Coast Guard ships.
But the recovery operation would be tricky, because of wind, currents, and shifting ice floes.
Ms. Menard said the remains of the men have been released and will be returned to their loved ones on Wednesday.
The fact that the helicopter sent no distress messages to the Amundsen before it crashed has many in the Arctic research community puzzling over what happened.


7 comments:

goldminor said...

A sad day for all concerned.May they rest in peace.

Anonymous said...

Been following and appreciating your blog over past month. However, the title of this entry is highly inappropriate given the circumstances. As well as misinformed. The was one scientist, a father of 3, on the helicopter that crashed, but he was not the only scientist on the ship. Even if he was the only one, why would you title your blog this way? I think an apology is in order.

Jim Hunt said...

As I've already said in another place:

My condolences to the families of those killed in the helicopter crash. The Coast Guard do a tough job in a tough environment, as do Arctic scientists. Sometimes they pay with their lives.

Meanwhile the Mail spouts nonsense about what's really going on up there.

Geoff Green said...

You really should change the inconsiderate, disrespectful and inaccurate title (second part) of this blog posting. We have lost 3 very good men serving their country, science and the Arctic.

Captain on GREY GOOSE said...

Sat next to a Coastie yesterday who had definite opinion on how missions are organized and carried out... bottom line he said he would never return to the Arctic - the hardest assignment station in the world.

My deepest sympathy and condolences - the job they perform was so others of us could make it through. THANK YOU!

Geoff Green said...

The Amundsen is Canada's premier Arctic-research vessel. It is a Coast Guard ship but it is used exclusively by ArcticNet in the summer seasons to conduct a very robust and important science program with researchers from around the world.

Captain on GREY GOOSE said...

Here is the url to Arcticnet: http://www.arcticnet.ulaval.ca/

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