Helipad at Health Sciences North dedicated to 2013 Ornge crash victims
Two pilots and two paramedics died in May 2013 when their helicoptor crashed in the early morning hours
Sudbury’s Health Sciences North has dedicated its helicopter pad to four Ornge Air ambulance crew members killed in a crash last year.
The helipad is dedicated to the memories of Captain Don Filliter, 54, of Skead, Ont.;First Officer Jacques Dupuy, 43, of Otterburn-Park, Que; Paramedic Dustin Dagenais, 34, of Moose Factory, Ont.and Paramedic Chris Snowball, 38, of Burlington, Ont.
On May 31. 2013 the four Ornge employees were travelling to Attawapiskat First Nation reserve in northern Ontario when they crashed one kilometre from an airport in Moosonee, Ont in the early morning hours.
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Ontario's air ambulance service has been charged with 17 offences under the Canadian Labour Code.
A court document obtained by CBC News in May 2014 revealed that many of the charges related directly to sections of the Canada Labour Code that govern green pilots operating aircraft together.
The document alleges that Ornge permitted the pilots to fly the S-76A helicopter "without adequate training in the operation of that specific aircraft," failed to provide the pilots with "a means to enable them to maintain visual reference while operating at night," and that Donald Mark Filliter, the crew's captain, had "insufficient experience in night operations."
Mike McCann, chair of the board of directors at HSN, presented the families of each of the men who died with a replica plaque at a memorial service Monday.
“Please accept this plaque as a symbol of our respect for you and your loved ones who gave their lives in service to the people of this province,” he said. “It was an honour to have known them and worked with them.”
Carole Dagenais, mother to Dustin who perished in the crash, said Monday that was the day her life “literally came crashing down and was forever changed.
Dagenais said it's hard to rebuild when a piece of her heart has been torn out.
Dr. Robert Lepage, medical director of Ornge in northeastern Ontario, broke down as he read the name of each victim.
"This will not bring these men back to their families and friends,” he said. “But it does provide a tangible touchstone honouring their work and their memory."
Dagenais said she wants more than what she calls lip service and had urged leaders of Ornge to ensure a safer workplace for pilots and flight paramedics.
"I am bound and determined by my profound love and respect for my son Dustin and to the memory of those courageous men."