Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence
AIR FORCE PUBLIC AFFAIRS

AIR FORCE PUBLIC AFFAIRS

August 01, 2006 11:30 ET

National Defence: Military Board of Inquiry into the Crash of CH149 Cormorant Helicopter 914 on 13 July 2006

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Aug. 1, 2006) - Major-General Charles Bouchard, Commander of 1 Canadian Air Division, announced today that a military Board of Inquiry (BOI) has been convened to investigate the 13 July crash of Cormorant helicopter CH149914, that killed three Canadian Forces Search and Rescue (SAR) crewmembers and injured four others during a training exercise off Canso, Nova Scotia. The BOI team arrived in Greenwood, Nova Scotia on 27 July and has begun the investigation process.

Colonel Grant Smith, President of the BOI, is leading a team of four investigators, who include specialists in the fields of aeronautical engineering, maintenance, search and rescue and flying operations. The team will collect and analyze the evidence from the accident to determine the cause and contributing factors in order to make recommendations to prevent a recurrence. The BOI team is assisted by three advisors with specialties in fields of law, medicine and media relations.

"While nothing can undo the tragic loss of these brave and devoted SAR professionals, we can ensure that this accident is investigated in a thorough and detailed manner to reduce the chance of an accident of this nature from recurring," said Col Smith. "We owe this to the memories of these fine men and their families, and the BOI team is completely committed to expending as much effort and time as is required."

Upon completion of their work, the BOI will submit a report to Major-General Bouchard for review and furtherance to the Chief of the Defence Staff. The findings and recommendations will then be made public, subject to the limitations by the Privacy Act and the Access to Information Act.

Backgrounder

On 21 July 2006, Major-General Charles Bouchard, Commander of 1 Canadian Air Division, ordered the convening of a military Board of Inquiry (BOI) to investigate the 13 July 2006 crash of CH149 Cormorant Helicopter 914. The aircraft crashed during a training exercise off Canso, Nova Scotia and resulted in the deaths of three Canadian Forces Search and Rescue (SAR) crewmembers and the injury of four others.

The President of the BOI is Colonel Grant Smith. The BOI team is comprised of four investigators and three advisors. The BOI team arrived in Ottawa on 25 July 2006 and commenced its work. The team arrived in Greenwood, Nova Scotia on 27 July 2006.

Mandate

A Board of Inquiry (BOI) is convened to inquire into any matter connected with the government, administration or functions of the CF or affecting any CF member. In short, it is a means of finding facts and obtaining recommendations in relation to any important matter.

When a member of the CF is injured or killed, an investigation is necessary to inform CF authorities, as a minimum, about the cause of the injury or death, whether the member was on duty at the time, whether a person is responsible for the injury or death, and whether the injury or death is attributable to military service.

The specific mandate for this BOI is as follows:

A Board of Inquiry (BOI), comprised of the Canadian Forces members identified below, shall assemble at the call of the President, no later than 26 July 2006, unless with the express concurrence of the Convening Authority, to investigate the circumstances surrounding the aircraft accident which occurred at or near Canso, Nova Scotia, on 13 July 2006, involving a CH149 Cormorant, number 914, and the death of crewmembers Sgt DP Brazil, MCpl KB Noel, Cpl TS McDavid and the injuries which may have been sustained by Maj GC Ireland, Capt RE Busch, Capt GS Ringuette and Sgt MF Moloney.

Composition

The BOI team is comprised of five investigators, including the BOI President, and three advisors. The investigators will collect and analyze the evidence from the accident to determine the cause and contributing factors, in order to make recommendations to prevent a recurrence. The investigators are:



- President and Investigator, Colonel Grant Smith, SAR Pilot from 1
Canadian Air Division, 32 years of experience in the Canadian
Forces;

- Investigator, Major Dave Kirkland, SAR Pilot from 442 Training and
Rescue Squadron in Comox, 25 years of experience in the Canadian
Forces;

- Investigator, Major Andrew Fitzgerald, Aeronautical Engineering
Officer from 8 Wing Trenton, 20 years of service in the Canadian
Forces;

- Investigator, Master Warrant Officer Ronald Langevin, Search and
Rescue Technician from National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa, 31
years of service in the Canadian Forces; and

- Investigator, Warrant Officer Patrick Monsigneur, Flight Engineer
from 426 Training Squadron in 8 Wing Trenton, 23 years of
experience in the Canadian Forces.

The advisors assist the members by providing subject matter expertise
and information that will assist the BOI in gathering and analyzing
evidence. The advisors are:

- Legal Advisor, Captain Jay Simpson, Legal Officer from 14 Wing
Greenwood, 23 years of experience in the Canadian Forces;

- Medical Advisor: Captain Helen Wright, Flight Surgeon from 23
Health Services Centre in 17 Wing Winnipeg, 16 years of experience
in the Canadian Forces; and

- Public Affairs Advisor, Captain Christine Bazarin, Public Affairs
Officer from Chief of the Air Staff, National Defence Headquarters
in Ottawa, 19 years of experience in the Canadian Forces.


BOI Process and Procedures

A BOI hears the oral evidence of witnesses under oath, and receives documentation and other evidence necessary for a full investigation and consideration of the matter.

Specifically, this BOI will conduct the following interviews and activities:



- Interview the surviving aircrew;

- Interview the responding rescue personnel (Canadian Forces and
Canadian Coast Guard Auxillary);

- Interview Maintenance personnel;

- Interview witnesses;

- Tour the crash sight;

- Tour the Cormorant Helicopter; and

- Provide updates of the Boards activities to the injured members,
the deceased members'next of kin, and the Convening Authority.


On completion of the investigation, the BOI will submit the minutes of the proceedings to the Convening Authority, Major-General Charles Bouchard, Commander of 1 Canadian Air Division, for review and furtherance to the Chief of Defence Staff. These minutes include a narrative, a record of the testimony of witnesses, exhibits, a statement by the BOI, a summary of the evidence, findings and recommendations. Once the review is complete, the findings and recommendations will be made public, subject to the limitations imposed by the Privacy Act and the Access to Information Act.

Timeline

While it is impossible to accurately determine the exact timeline of the BOI process, the tentative schedule is as follows:



- 21 July 2006 - BOI is convened by the Commander of 1 Canadian Air
Division;

- 25 July 2006 - Board members arrive in Ottawa and commence
working;

- 26 July 2006 - Board members receive training from the
Administrative Investigation Support Centre;

- 27 July 2006 - BOI Team arrives in Greenwood;

- 18 Aug 2006 - Completion of the investigative process at 14 Wing
Greenwood;

- Unknown 2006 - Completion of the written report and submission to
the Convening Authority for review.


Witnesses Testimony

Witnesses play a significant role in the BOI process, and the information they provide is crucial to enabling the Board to conduct a detailed and thorough investigation. Under the National Defence Act, a witness is required to testify before a BOI when summoned, and may not be excused from answering the questions put to him or her. A BOI is an administrative investigation, not a judicial one. A witness's response may not be used against him or her in another proceeding (including criminal trial), as a BOI is not intended to lead directly to disciplinary or criminal proceedings. If the Board receives evidence that it believes relates to an allegation of a criminal act or breach of the Code of Service Discipline, the Board will adjourn, notify the Convening Authority, and refer the matter to the nearest JAG representative for advice.

Contact Information

  • Media:
    Media Liaison Office
    (613) 996-2353
    or
    Information: (204) 833-2500 ext. 6795
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    (204) 833-2512 (FAX)
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