Review major breakthrough, MP says

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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.

Jack Harris Photo by The Canadian Press

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.

Organizations: House of Commons, National Defence, Cougar Flight 491

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, ST. JOHN'S, North Atlantic Gander Nova Scotia

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Recent comments

  • Gerry
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    'But the response time is two hours for evenings, weekends and holidays.
    New Democrat MP Jack Harris says those in distress deserve better...'

    Yes they certainly do deserve better. Then the politicians making a big stink should contact the Feds & ask for more money to train and hire more SAR techs; better equipment; more adm & support, and stop slashing military funding (again)! The miltary's funding has/is being cut this year. Wait until next year when the government slashes military funding to the bone again (as in the 80's&90's) after the troops are pulled out of A'stan by fed government come '11.

  • gunther
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    Ok, I only want to fly between 8am and 4pm on weekdays please.

  • Gerry
    July 01, 2010 - 20:17

    'But the response time is two hours for evenings, weekends and holidays.
    New Democrat MP Jack Harris says those in distress deserve better...'

    Yes they certainly do deserve better. Then the politicians making a big stink should contact the Feds & ask for more money to train and hire more SAR techs; better equipment; more adm & support, and stop slashing military funding (again)! The miltary's funding has/is being cut this year. Wait until next year when the government slashes military funding to the bone again (as in the 80's&90's) after the troops are pulled out of A'stan by fed government come '11.

  • gunther
    July 01, 2010 - 19:56

    Ok, I only want to fly between 8am and 4pm on weekdays please.