Executive Council
March 9, 2017

The following statement was given today in the House of Assembly by the Honourable Dwight Ball, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador:

Premier Ball Acknowledges Anniversary of Cougar Flight 491 Crash

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to acknowledge the anniversary of one of the most tragic days in the history of our province. On March 12, 2009, Cougar Helicopter Flight 491 crashed into the cold Atlantic Ocean as it was en route to the oil fields off our east coast. Of the two crew and 16 passengers on board, just one person survived.

An anniversary such as this reminds us of the risks that women and men face as they work offshore in a variety of industries in Newfoundland and Labrador. It also serves as a reminder that while we have come a long way in mitigating those risks, we must always be vigilant and seek opportunities to improve safety.

The anniversary of the crash of Cougar Flight 491 also allows us to reflect on the tremendous and unselfish work that our first responders do when they come to the aid of those in desperate need in one of the harshest and most unpredictable environments on Earth. That courage was on display again earlier this week as members of the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Canadian Coast Guard were dispatched to rescue five men who had to abandon a fishing vessel that was disabled in 10 metre waves.

Mr. Speaker, there will be a memorial service for those who passed away as a result of the crash of Cougar Flight 491 on Sunday at 7:00 p.m. at Corpus Christi Church on Waterford Bridge Road here in St. John’s. I encourage all residents to attend in remembrance of those who perished and to offer condolences to the families and friends that must deal with their loss every day.

In closing, I ask all my Honourable colleagues to join me in a moment of silence as we reflect on those that lost their lives eight years ago.

2017 03 09                              1:45 p.m.