Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

September 09, 2009 14:41 ET

Initial Flight Safety Report for Griffon Helicopter Accident in Afghanistan on July 6, 2009

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 9, 2009) - The initial "From The Investigator" (FTI) flight safety report for the Griffon helicopter accident near Kandahar, Afghanistan, on July 6, 2009, has been completed and is posted on the Directorate of Flight Safety website: www.airforce.forces.gc.ca/dfs/

Killed in this tragic accident were Canadian Forces members MCpl Pat Audet of 430 Escadron tactique d'helicopteres, based at Canadian Forces Base Valcartier, and Cpl Martin Joannette of the 3e Bataillon, Royal 22e Regiment based at Canadian Forces Base Valcartier, as well as one coalition soldier who was a passenger in the helicopter.

This initial report indicates that the helicopter contacted a barrier while attempting to take off in "dust-ball" conditions from a Forward Operating Base near Kandahar. The ongoing investigation is focusing primarily on the training and procedures associated with operating the Griffon helicopter in the Afghan environment with its harsh conditions of dust, heat and obstacles. The investigation team is also examining the safety equipment and procedures employed in the helicopter cabin during critical take-off and landing operations.

Several corrective actions have already been implemented as a result of this accident, including the implementation of revised procedures for planning and conducting flights in such environmental conditions, as well as to help ensure the safety of crew and passengers in the cabin area. An action team has been established to address additional recommendations, and the Air Force will continue to work with the Flight Safety team as they continue their investigation to ensure that flying operations in Afghanistan's demanding environment are as safe and effective as possible.

Questions about the Flight Safety report for this accident should be directed to the DND/CF Media Liaison Office at 613-996-2353 or 1-866-377-0811.

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