Family members of crew members lost in the Cougar Flight 491 crash gathered in St. John's Wednesday morning to remember their loved ones and to mark the five-year anniversary of the accident.
There were 18 people aboard the Sikorsky S-92 when it took off from St. John's on March 12, 2009. Only one person on board survived after the helicopter plunged into the Atlantic Ocean.
Lori Chynn, who lost her husband John Pelley in the crash, has been active in pursuing government to make the changes recommended for offshore safety.
She joined other friends and family of the victims at the fence which overlooks the tarmac where they last saw their lost family members.
Chynn said families feel there's still a lot more that needs to be done, and not enough assurances from government.
"We've written letters, we wrote to the federal government, no response. We finally got acknowledged with our correspondence, but nothing is done," she said.
But Chynn said the problem isn't just with Ottawa, but extends to the Newfoundland and Labrador government, as well.
"And now with the provincial government, I don't feel we're getting the support there." she said.
Chynn said she worries that some of the most important recommendations from the Offshore Helicopter Safety Inquiry have yet to be implemented, and she fears that as time passes, it's less likely they'll ever come to fruition.
But Chynn added there's comfort in being able to find support in the other family members who are active in pushing for these stricter regulations.
"It's very difficult to grieve in the public, and the media, but at the same time, personally, I feel a need that we still have to keep pressing for the safety of the offshore workers," she said.
"I guess that's why I continue to speak out because to me it's very important — but at the same time it's very difficult."
'We just feel complete'
Glenda Rose, whose brother died on the Cougar crash, said it's nice to be able to get together with other families on the anniversary to reminisce about those who died.
"It's difficult to come here each year, but it's a must … when we do, we just feel complete. I know it's only a small thing, but it just makes things complete," she said.
Rose said that while it's sometimes difficult to think about what happened, it's important for the families to keep fighting for stricter safety policies to protect other offshore workers.
"We have to think of the other workers that go off our shores. Safety is a big factor, and one of the things that I hope and I pray that they continue to work on [is] the safety issues, and they ask the workers. They are the front line people that should be involved in all these decision makings," Rose said.
"I would like to see the recommendations that were made were not all in vain, that something good will come out [of it]. Yes, there are things that have been done, and there are more to complete, and I know you can't eliminate all the risks, but if you can eliminate so many, it should be done."
Experienced catastrophic oil loss
Flight 491 experienced a catastrophic oil loss after two of the titanium studs that held together the main gear box sheared off. The helicopter could only fly for 11 minutes before crashing into the water below.
The crash left a dark spot in the history of Newfoundland and Labrador, and prompted an inquiry headed by retired judge Robert Wells into helicopter safety regulations.
In an interview with CBC News, Wells said there have been many changes for the better, but there's still a lot of work that needs to be done — including implementing the 30-minute dry run, what he calls the biggest recommendation.
The recommendation would change the way the helicopters were designed to extend the amount of time they could stay in the air while experiencing oil loss.
A memorial service will be held Wednesday evening at Bethesda Pentecostal Church on Macdonald Dr. in St. John's at 6:30 p.m.