A Cougar helicopter is inspected after it landed at St. John’s airport Monday afternoon. — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram
A Cougar helicopter flight heading from the airport for the Henry Goodrich offshore drilling rig Monday morning turned around and returned to base, but only as a precautionary measure, a spokeswoman for Cougar told The Telegram.
While emergency vehicles rushed to St. John’s International Airport at about the same time as the flight was returning, they were not called in for an emergency landing, the spokeswoman said.
“Cougar Helicopters did not have an emergency landing today. Cougar Helicopters did not declare an emergency, nor did Cougar request the assistance from any emergency agencies today,” she said, trying to clarify the events.
“Cougar had an aircraft return to base this morning shortly after departing St. John’s.
“The pilots elected to return to St. John’s because of a higher than normal vibration level and they made a decision to return to have the cause of the vibration determined,” she stated.
The pilots decided on a precautionary turnaround when they were about 43 to 48 kilometres out from the airport with their six passengers.
“They did not declare an emergency, nor in fact was such a call warranted due to the vibration,” said the Cougar representative.
At the airport, two servicemen were observed inspecting the engine compartment of a Cougar helicopter just after noon.
The pilot’s information is being reviewed by the company.
“As with any aircraft that returns to base here at Cougar, our maintenance department conducts a thorough inspection and, if required, a test flight. The last I checked that inspection was currently taking place,” the spokeswoman said.
Again, the action was described as precautionary.
Meanwhile, the spokeswoman said the airport had a search and rescue aircraft doing training maneouvres in the area. That training included having emergency vehicles at the airfield.
While an airport official could not say whether or not the response was part a training exercise, the response was referred to as “generally routine.”
The St. John’s Regional Fire Department was contacted late Monday about the airport training exercise, but did not return the call as of press time.