Canadian health and safety investigators charged Ontario’s troubled air ambulance service, Ornge, with 17 violations of the Canadian Labor Code related to the nighttime crash of a Sikorsky S-76A on May 31 last year near its base in rural northern Mosonee that killed its four-man crew. The helicopter went down shortly after takeoff en route to a patient pick-up.
The charges include pairing pilots who both had inadequate currency, experience and training in the S-76, including one who had not passed all required proficiency checks and one with insufficient night experience; failure to provide the pilots with “a means to maintain visual reference” during night flights; and failure to adequately supervise the helicopter base.
The results of the Canadian Transportation Safety Board (TSB) investigation into the crash remain pending. In a prepared statement, Ornge said it “remains committed to providing high-quality air ambulance and medical transport service, while taking any and all steps necessary to ensure the safety of our patients and crews” and has already taken corrective actions.