Emergency response training to change following fatal Wanapitei boat crash, city says

Emergency officials spoke to reporters for the first time about what changes are under consideration in light of difficulty responding to the fatal 2013 boat crash on Lake Wanapitei.

Officials from police, fire and ambulance address changes required after fatal Lake Wanapitei crash

Stephanie Bertrand, Matthew Humeniuk and Michael Kritz died after the boat they were in crashed into an island on Lake Wanapitei in 2013. Robert Dorzek was the lone survivor. (Supplied)

The head of emergency services for Sudbury says a fatal boat crash on Lake Wanapitei in 2013 shows the challenge of responding to emergencies in remote areas.

The crash will change how crews are trained as well as how supervisors are trained for handling "adverse conditions", said Tim Beadman, the chief of emergency services for the City of Greater Sudbury, at a news conference at city hall Monday afternoon.

A feasibility study is also underway on a fire-ambulance-police dispatch centre, Beadman said, adding it was one of the  recommendations from an emergency working group looking into the response to the tragedy.

Sudbury Police Chief Paul Pedersen also addressed the families of the three victims of the boat crash during the news conference.

"You reached out to emergency services and we know we need to implement the recommendations," he said.

The regional coroner ruled on Friday that an inquest isn't needed into the crash—or the slow response by rescue crews.

The ruling was in part because emergency officials in Sudbury, as well as the Ministry of Health, have said they are already working on identifying and resolving issues, whereas an inquest wouldn't begin for months.

But some family members of the three young people who were killed are not as confident in an internal review. 

Toni Kritz lost her brother Michael Kritz in the boat crash.

"You know I fear the local group put in place to make these recommendations is just another example of political grandstanding," she said.

"I don't know how much faith I have in them making recommendations about themselves."

Sudbury's firefighters union is also concerned about how the communication problems that plagued the rescue are being handled internally.

President Rob Hyndman said the city needs to encourage public trust in the emergency services.

"We have significant issue here. If they can't see that, then we have a bigger problem that what we're even talking about right now," said Hyndman.


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