As the Transportation Safety Board continues to investigate Friday’s fatal helicopter crash near Moosonee, the father of one of the men who died says his son had no concerns about flying the helicopters operated by Ornge, Ontario’s air ambulance.
Paramedic Chris Snowball was one of four people who died when the Orgne air ambulance flight went down only moments after it took off from Moosonee for a routine patient transfer in Attawapiskat.
"He said they were always well-maintained," said John Snowball, who noted he had talked with his son about the aircraft in the past.
"Ornge really looks after their equipment. He said they were always well maintained and he had no problems flying them."
Ornge said it's unknown why the 33-year-old Sikorsky helicopter crashed.
All four victims of the crash were well-experienced in their respective fields, and all were fathers and husbands. According to information from Ornge:
- Captain Don Filliter, 54, came from Skead, Ont. A respected pilot with more than 20 years of flying experience, he joined Ornge in March of this year. He was also an aircraft maintenance engineer, and served as the treasurer with Helicopters Association of Canada between 2008 and 2010. He is survived by his wife Suzanne and their three children.
- First Officer Jacques Dupuy, 43, hailed from Otterburn-Park, Que. He joined Ornge August 5, 2012 and has been flying since 1996. He had experience as bush pilot with Quebec Helicopters and as an executive pilot for Colibri Helicopters. He is survived by his wife Josee Capuano and their two children.
- Flight Paramedic Dustin Dagenais, 34, came from Moose Factory Ont. A paramedic since 2007, he joined Ornge on November 2, 2011 as a primary care paramedic. He was well known in the James Bay area, having worked for James Bay Ambulance Services in Moosonee and Attawapiskat. He is survived by his wife Josee Cousineau and an infant child.
- Flight Paramedic Chris Snowball, 38, hailed from Burlington, Ont. He joined Ornge on November 24, 2011 as a primary care paramedic. He also was well known in the James Bay area, having worked for Wabusk Air Ambulance in Moosonee. He also worked for Emergency Medical care Inc., in Baddeck Nova Scotia for 10 years and was also a volunteer fire fighter there. He is survived by his wife Alvaretta and their three children.
Two victims were loved ones of Sudbury hospital workers.
Dagenais is the nephew of a registered practical nurse who works in one of Health Scences North's Nephrology satellite clinics across northeastern Ontario.
Filliter is the husband of one the employees at the HSN’s Ramsey Lake Health Centre in Greater Sudbury.
"We want to extend our deepest sympathies to the members of the HSN family who are experiencing a deeply personal loss," said hospital spokesperson Dan Lessard.
"Our condolences, thoughts and prayers are with all those at HSN and in northeastern Ontario who are grieving this tragedy. Each of them has been a valued member of our team."