07 November 2009

Cougar 491 survivor’s statement

Robert Decker survived the crash of Cougar 491 on March 12, 2009. The S-92 ditched in the ocean off St. John’s Newfoundland after aborting a routine resupply run to two of the province’s offshore oil production platforms.

He testified this week at the Wells inquiry into offshore helicopter safety. That’s an important point lost on some reporters and most of the ghouls – political and otherwise – who’ve busily been trying to capitalize on the tragedy for their own purposes. This is an inquiry primarily focussed on offshore safety.

Decker’s testimony was riveting and added considerable new detail to the events on that late winter day. The testimony was, however, tightly controlled, with Decker agreeing only to respond to previously agreed upon questions. The trauma of the event and its effect on him were painfully evident.

There’s an account of it at the Telegram. The full transcript is also available at the helicopter inquiry website.

Decker also read a prepared statement. His closing words should be heeded by all, particularly those who have used this tragedy for their own purposes. The ghouls should take note:

"If we really want to make offshore helicopter travel safe, what we have to do is to make sure that every helicopter does not crash.

"The best way to keep every offshore worker safe is to keep every helicopter in the air where it belongs.

"Safety starts with the helicopter, and I think everything else is secondary."