ArcticNet Science Expedition Curtailed to Focus on Helicopter Investigation
QUEBEC CITY, Sept. 20, 2013 -- /CNW Telbec/ - Following last week's tragic accident involving the helicopter operating from the research icebreaker CCGS Amundsen, the ArcticNet Network of Centres of Excellence has curtailed its 2013 science expedition on board the vessel in order to assist the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) and the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) with their plans to recover the CCG Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm Bo-105 helicopter from M'Clure Strait. Most of the 36 ArcticNet scientists who were on board were flown back south yesterday. Some ArcticNet experts have remained onboard to help with the search and recovery operation.
"The decision to curtail the science expedition will allow most of the scientists to return home and find comfort among friends and family, and for the team staying onboard to concentrate their efforts on the recovery of the helicopter" said Dr. Martin Fortier, Executive Director of ArcticNet and Board member of the Amundsen program. "Everyone associated with ArcticNet and the Amundsen program are cooperating fully with the CCG and TSB, and we are allocating our best technical and material resources towards the success of this operation."
The Amundsen departed its homeport of Quebec City on 26 July 2013 for an 82-d ArcticNet scientific expedition to the Canadian Arctic. After a successful campaign of sampling operations in the Labrador Sea, northern Baffin Bay and the Northwest Passage, the science team was on its way to the Beaufort Sea when the crash occurred on the early evening of 09 September on day 46 of the expedition. The CCG helicopter was performing an ice reconnaissance mission in M'Clure Strait, north of Banks Island, Northwest Territories at the time of the accident.
The ArcticNet team was to conduct research in the Beaufort Sea until 29 September before heading back to Quebec City. ArcticNet's 2013 Schools on Board outreach program, which was to join the vessel as it made the transit back through the Northwest Passage, has also been cancelled.
"The scientific campaign was shortened by about 3 weeks. One of the priorities was to recover five oceanographic moorings that were deployed in the Beaufort Sea in 2012." said Dr. Fortier. "We received confirmation yesterday that the moorings will be recuperated by our colleagues on the CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier. Other sampling operations that could not be completed this year will be a priority for our 2014 expedition".
About ArcticNet ArcticNet, a Network of Centres of Excellence of Canada, brings together scientists and managers in the natural, human health and social sciences with their partners from Inuit organizations, northern communities, federal and provincial agencies and the private sector to study the impacts of climate change and modernization in the coastal Canadian Arctic. Over 145 ArcticNet researchers from 30 Canadian Universities, and 20 federal and provincial agencies and departments collaborate with research teams in Denmark, Finland, France, Greenland, Japan, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the USA.
Visit us at: www.arcticnet.ulaval.ca and www.amundsen.ulaval.ca
Image with caption: "The scientific research icebreaker CCGS Amundsen has been supporting ArcticNet research since 2003. (CNW Group/ArcticNet)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130920_C9200_PHOTO_EN_31105.jpg
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The Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) is working to recover its CCG Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm Bo-105 helicopter which crashed in the Arctic Ocean last week. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) investigation into this accident is ongoing.
On September 9, 2013, the CCG helicopter, operating from the CCGS Amundsen on an ice reconnaissance mission in the M'Clure Strait north of Banks Island, Northwest Territories, was involved in an accident and sank. None of the three persons on board the helicopter survived.
The TSB investigation team will arrive in Resolute, Nunavut today where they will meet with CCG and ArcticNet personnel to begin the search and recovery efforts aboard two CCG vessels. The CCGS Henry Larsen is immediately tasked with locating the helicopter and providing icebreaking and technical assistance. The CCGS Amundsen will provide search and recovery assistance, and will transport the technical equipment and personnel required to locate and recover the helicopter.
"While there are logistical challenges in planning a recovery mission in the harsh Arctic at this time of year," said Marc Gregoire, Commissioner of the CCG, "We will make every reasonable effort to recover the helicopter as soon as possible, while ensuring the safety of all personnel involved in this mission."
"We know we are facing a difficult environment with weather and ice conditions-and there are no guarantees," added Wendy Tadros, Chair of the TSB. "But the TSB is committed to furthering its investigation to determine what happened in this tragic accident."
"Everyone associated with ArcticNet and the Amundsen program are cooperating fully with the CCG and TSB, and we are allocating our best technical and material resources towards the success of this operation," said Dr. Martin Fortier, Executive Director of ArcticNet and Board member of the Amundsen program.
This investigation is a priority for the TSB.
The Canadian Coast Guard is working to recover its helicopter which crashed in the Arctic Ocean last week. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada investigation into this accident is ongoing.
For more information about the Canadian Coast Guard, visit www.ccg-gcc.gc.ca.
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Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm (BO-105-CBS) helicopter
In the coming days, we will sadly be saying good-bye to our co-workers and friends, Captain Marc Thibault, Daniel Dubé, and Dr. Klaus Hochheim.
Through their dedication to public safety and scientific knowledge, these men provided a brave and noble service to Canadians. They will be missed by all who knew them, and they will be forever honoured by the Canadian Coast Guard. Our thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathies are with their families and friends.
As they lay to rest, on behalf of Coast Guard employees, the ArcticNet team, the University of Manitoba, and all Canadians, I extend my heartfelt appreciation to these men and sincerest condolences to their families. May they rest in peace.
A public funeral service for Captain Thibault and Mr. Dubé will be held on Monday September 23, 2013 at 14:00 at l’église Saint Ignace de Loyola, 3325 rue Loyola in Quebec City.
Commissioner, Canadian Coast Guard
Captain Marc ThibaultCanadian Coast Guard
Captain Marc Thibault was born in l’Islet, in the Chaudière-Appalaches region in 1965, in the same little village where the great Northern Explorer, Captain Joseph-Elzéar Bernier was born.
Between 1984 and 1987, he studied at the Canadian Coast Guard College in Sydney, Nova Scotia, where he obtained a Master Mariner certificate of competency.
Since 1987, he had been a Navigation Officer with the Canadian Coast Guard where he served as a third, second and first officer, and finally as captain. He obtained a Deck Officer certificate in 1995 and a Master Mariner certificate in 2010. Over the last 12 years, he had taken command of seven different Canadian Coast Guard vessels and made 19 trips in the Arctic where he participated in the CASES international scientific mission, which lasted 13 months. His current mission coincided with the commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the CCGS Amundsen.
Born in 1957, in the Abitibi region, helicopter pilot Daniel Dubé graduated from the Centre québécois de formation aéronautique (CQFA) flight training school.
He worked in the private sector before joining Transport Canada in1985. He was qualified to fly three types of Canadian Coast Guard helicopters and had accrued over 10,000 hours of flight. Every year, he travelled to the Arctic as part of his duties.
An experienced helicopter pilot, he was recognized for his leadership and his ability to mentor his colleagues. He was married and the father of four children.
Dr. Klaus Hochheim
Centre for Earth Observation Science
Dr. Hochheim was a respected researcher with the Centre for Earth Observation Science (CEOS) at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. He received his Bachelor degree (honor) from the University of Winnipeg, his Masters and PhD degrees in respectively 1995 and 2003 from the University of Manitoba. He was a long-time researcher with CEOS, dedicating himself in recent years to the study of sea ice and it's role on the climate system. He was veteran of High Arctic field campaigns. He was 55 years of age and leaves behind his wife and three children.
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