Ornge helicopter crash dominates CBC Sudbury news in 2013

CBC Sudbury looks back on the top 10 stories of the year that were most clicked on by our website readers.
CBC News Sudbury's top online story of the year involved a fatal helicopter crash. Investigators were sent to the crash site in northern Ontario involving Ornge's Sikorsky S-76A helicopter on May 31. Four people — two pilots and two paramedics — were confirmed dead. (Supplied)

Tragedy, loss, mayhem on the roads, flooding, and public inquiries were some of the most sought-after stories reported by CBC News from across the northeast.

CBC Sudbury looks back on the top 10 stories of the year that were most clicked on by our website readers.

1) Ornge helicopter crash

What was supposed to be a routine patient pickup in Attawapiskat in northern Ontario proved to be a deadly venture for two pilots and two paramedics flying out of Moosonee early on the morning of May 31, when their helicopter crashed shortly after departure.

Ornge, Ontario's air ambulance, confirmed the names of the four who died in the crash:

Captain Don Filliter, 54, of Skead, Ont.
First Officer Jacques Dupuy, 43, of Otterburn-Park, Que.
Paramedic Dustin Dagenais, 34, of Moose Factory, Ont.
Paramedic Chris Snowball, 38, of Burlington, Ont.

2) Timmins closes Shania Twain Centre

A failed tourist attraction in Timmins is set to become the gold mine the city always hoped for.

The Shania Twain Centre permanently shut its doors on Feb. 8.

International gold miner Goldcorp was to officially acquire the property in June. The company plans to demolish the structure to make it part of a massive open-pit gold mine.

City councillors decided earlier in the year the centre was too big a money pit to keep subsidizing.

About $4 million in tax dollars went toward building the failed tourist attraction just 12 years ago.

The centre has racked up more than $1 million in operating deficits in the years since.

3) Theresa Spence re-elected chief in Attawapiskat

Theresa Spence, who went on a six-week hunger strike last winter in an effort to persuade the federal government to take aboriginal concerns seriously, was re-elected to a second three-year term as chief of the Attawapiskat First Nation in northern Ontario at the end of August.

Her liquid diet last winter made her a household name, but it also put her at the centre of criticism in the election.

4) Bad-driving snitch line targeting seniors prompts police apology

Police in Sudbury wanted the phone to ring on a hotline to report bad driving by older people, but officers instead dealt with calls from angry seniors.

Getting people to call the Crime Stoppers tip line stemmed from a safe-driving task force launched at the end of January by the Greater Sudbury Police, the OPP and other community groups.

It was set up for people to call and anonymously report sightings of people who appear to be driving dangerously, but police put an emphasis on reporting older drivers. Police said the number of seniors getting into collisions is almost on par with those of drivers aged 24 and under.

5) Attawapiskat fire

Flights left from Attawapiskat in late November to transport about 70 people forced from their homes by a fire in the First Nation community in northern Ontario — a fire that appears to have been caused by a candle used during a power outage.

Officials declared an emergency in the remote James Bay Coast community on Friday after a fire broke out earlier in a set of trailers being used as temporary housing due to a sewage system break.

No one was injured in the fire.

6) Elliot Lake mall inquiry told engineers often costly

The public inquiry into the Elliot Lake mall collapse made headlines on CBC Sudbury's website throughout the year. But it was the stories that came out at the inquiry's start that garnered the most online attention, including this one:

An engineer and the first witness to appear before a public inquiry into last June's fatal roof collapse at the Algo Centre Mall in Elliot Lake said it isn't uncommon for smaller communities to have a difficult time affording top building officials.

Using diagrams, slides and a 3D structure, Dale Craig described in detail how mall buildings are constructed. Craig — an Ottawa-based engineer whose company's work includes projects in Sudbury — outlined the roles of key players in building construction, including engineers, contractors and owners.

7) Flooding in Attawapiskat, Kashechewan

A partial evacuation took place at the Kashechewan First Nation, as flood problems worsened for communities on the James Bay Coast in northern Ontario.

Both the Attawapiskat and Kashechewan First Nations declared a state of emergency after sewer backups flooded basements.

Kashechewan chief Derek Stephen told CBC News 40 homes have water and sewage in the basement — leaving about 200 people with nowhere to sleep.

8) Severe rusting of ill-fated Elliot Lake mall didn't alarm engineer

An engineer had long known about severe rusting of steel beams at Elliot Lake's Algo Centre mall when he signed off on a report declaring the structure to be sound, less than two months before it collapsed, a judicial inquiry heard Thursday.

Testifying at the probe into last year's fatal collapse, Gregory Saunders said he signed off on an inspection report prepared by his partner and fellow engineer, Robert (Bob) Wood, on May 3, 2012.

9) Flooding forces northern Ont. towns to declare state of emergency

Several small northern Ontario communities declared a state of emergency due to flash flooding in the area in September.

Provincial police in East Algoma said several roads were closed in the area southeast of Sault Ste. Marie.

10) Poor driving conditions span northeastern Ont.

Poor driving conditions, particularly during a storm of freezing rain, followed by drifting and blowing snow on Jan. 30 affected the region.

Several highways around the northeast were closed, school buses were cancelled, along with some schools. Businesses closed early and people were told by emergency workers to stay off the roads. Some buses were stranded and multiple accidents ensued.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.