Fatal Lake Wanapitei boat crash transcripts reveal 911 'deficiencies'

The Sudbury coroner's office says a decision will made early this month about whether an inquest will be held into a fatal boating accident.

Advocates hope inquest will be called in aftermath of 2013 accident that killed 3 people

Dispatchers take 911 calls and then send them to either police, fire or ambulance services. A transcript of conversations between the 911 operator and boat crash survivor, Rob Dorzek, show that there was confusion over where the accident happened. File photo. (CBC)

In the wake of a boat crash in Sudbury last summer that left three people dead, questions are being raised about the effectiveness of the 911 system in northern Ontario.

Stephanie Bertrand, Matthew Humeniuk and Michael Kritz died after their boat hit an island on Lake Wanapitei in the summer of 2013.

But, there were four people on the boat, and two were still alive after the impact of the crash.

According to 911 transcripts, there were delays in getting to the group.

Conversations between the 911 operator and the sole survivor, Rob Dorzek, show that there was confusion over where the accident happened.

Despite receiving a photo with GPS co-ordinates, the operator was unable to find the island.

She even attempted to send an ambulance rather than a boat or helicopter to the crash.

Toni Kritz's brother Michael died in the tragedy.

Kritz has been following the case closely, dealing with the police and the coroner's reports. She said she heard the 911 call and read the transcript.

She said there was much confusion about where the boat crashed and how to locate the vessel and the injured people inside.

Dorzek was told to start a signal fire, which quickly got out of control, Kritz said.

"And consumed the boat while my brother and the driver of the boat were still inside. And my brother died from the fire."

'Inquest can shed some light'

Nickel Belt MPP France Gelinas said  stories like this are leading people to question the 911 service.

“This lack of confidence has spread [among people living at] many other cottages and lakes.”

Gelinas said people are setting up alternate systems to provide emergency help on some local lakes.

She said she hopes an inquest may help provide some answers about whether protocol was followed.

"The end result is that a complete lack of confidence from the people in the Wanapitae Lake area that the 911 will be there in their times of need."

Julie Howarth's sister Stephanie Bertrand died in the crash.

She said her family believes all the people who helped in this tragedy did their best, but the system failed.

“The inquest can shed some light on some of the deficiencies in the system and improvements will be implemented.”

Coroner David Eden's office says a decision about an inquest will be made shortly.


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