ST. JOHN'S -
The House of Commons committee on National Defence is set to review military search and rescue response times.
Military aircraft must respond within 30 minutes of an emergency call between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays. But the response time is two hours for evenings, weekends and holidays.
New Democrat MP Jack Harris says those in distress deserve better, pointing out that other countries require search and rescue response within 15 minutes.
The committee of MPs will call witnesses over the next few months and make recommendations to the government. There have been calls in Newfoundland and Labrador for quicker search and rescue response times since a fatal helicopter crash last year in the North Atlantic.
Harris described the review Tuesday as "a major breakthrough."
He recently appeared before an inquiry into offshore helicopter safety off Newfoundland, urging faster military response times.
The probe was called after the crash of Cougar Flight 491 on March 12, 2009 killed 17 of 18 people aboard.
The sole survivor, Robert Decker, endured more than an hour in icy waters while a backup Cougar chopper was readied for rescue.
Military Cormorant choppers usually based in Gander, were two hours away that day training in Nova Scotia.