Lawyer, commissioner debate questions that can be asked at offshore safety inquiry

Staff ~ The Telegram
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The Wells inquiry went into a huddle at mid-morning to debate the questions Randell Earle, lawyer for unionized offshore workers, will be allowed to ask at the hearings.
Earle asked Cougar Helicopters' executives on the stand today if they knew the Sikorsky S-92A couldn't fly for 30 minutes without oil in its gearbox. He referenced reports that the S-92A didn't have what is called a 30-minute run-dry capability.
"On March 12, 2009, did Cougar believe the S-92 had a 30-minute dry fly time?" Earle asked.
Inquiry commissioner Robert Wells intervened, "I think we'd better talk about that, Mr. Earle."
Wells said the question might be better asked when the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) issues its investigation report on the causes of the March 12 crash of the S-92A helicopter that killed 17 people off the province's east coast.
"We're all aware of the role of the Transportation Safety Board," said Earle. "But I would suggest, Mr. Commissioner … I for one would prefer that this inquiry were proceeding after we had the report from the Transportation Safety Board because then it'd all be a given."
Wells reminded Earle that the inquiry will continue after the TSB issues its report.
"Then, we'll have greater freedom … there's a lot of things we can go into then," said Wells.
Earle replied, "I think it is important for this inquiry to understand what was the collective state of mind of Cougar on this issue, and we can't pretend about it - it's all out there in the press and published in a lot of aviation materials prior to March 2009 that the S-92 had at least 30 minutes dry fly time.
"I think it is important for us to know, because we all know now that it didn't - that the S-92 did not have a 30-minute dry fly time."
Wells and Earle debated the issue for more than 15 minutes before Wells briefly adjourned the inquiry to discuss the issue with lawyers behind closed doors.
Further updates later.

Organizations: Transportation Safety Board

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  • Nasty
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    Randy Dandy Earle seems to want to circumvent the TSB investigation and pin liability prior to the report. You really need to wonder what the union is all about. Seems more interested in money than safety for the future. And to think I was starting to think he had a few valid points weeks back. Now his true colours shine through.

    Back to the mud slinging at 2:00pm I guess.

  • Nasty
    July 01, 2010 - 20:07

    Randy Dandy Earle seems to want to circumvent the TSB investigation and pin liability prior to the report. You really need to wonder what the union is all about. Seems more interested in money than safety for the future. And to think I was starting to think he had a few valid points weeks back. Now his true colours shine through.

    Back to the mud slinging at 2:00pm I guess.