Update: New survival suit expected to be approved by end of the week, inquiry told

Staff ~ The Telegram
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Helly Hansen's operations manager told the inquiry into offshore helicopter safety today he expects Transport Canada to approve a new survival suit by the end of the week.
"We are making plans for flight later this week, pending the final approval," said Mark Collins.
Helly Hansen manufactures the survival suits worn by offshore workers.
Known as HTS-1, the new suit meets the 1999 aviation standard and offers a wider range of custom sizing than the current suit known as E-452.
Collins was also asked about the testimony of Robert Decker, the sole survivor of the March 12 helicopter crash that killed 17 people. Decker testified at the inquiry earlier this month.
Collins said he saw Decker's survival suit once - but it had been cut into pieces by paramedics following his rescue from the North Atlantic.
"There was no way of determining the integrity of the suit," he said.
"In terms of water ingress, I do not know how much water got into the suit - I only have his comments. And in terms … of his injuries and core temperature and that, I'm sure that's part of the TSB investigation and is being looked at."
Decker also said he found it impossible to don the survival suit's gloves because his hands were numb with cold.
Inquiry lawyer John Roil asked if Helly Hansen can address that issue in the manufacture of the gloves.
"There are some opportunities to investigate, but the item being that you also cannot hinder egress of the helicopter - and the first thing you have to do is be able to release that seatbelt," said Collins.
"Depending on the glove that's on the suit, if it's fully donned, you could impede the egress."
Collins expects glove improvements will be further examined in future.
Detailed coverage in Thursday's print edition.

Organizations: Helly Hansen, Transport Canada, TSB

Geographic location: North Atlantic

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