Ornge Flying Sikorskys Again After May 31 Crash

The company announced June 4 that it had returned its Sikorsky S76 helicopters to service.

Ornge, Ontario, Canada's provider of air ambulance and related services, has returned its five Sikorsky S76 helicopters to patient transport service after grounding them voluntarily following a May 31 crash in Moosonee that killed all four people aboard.

The crash remains under investigation, but "preliminary information communicated to Ornge by the Transportation Safety Board did not raise concerns regarding the S76 fleet, and Ornge officials are confident they are safe to return to service," the company's posted June 4 news release stated.

The four employees who died in the crash are Capt. Don Filliter, First Officer Jacques Dupuy, Flight Paramedic Dustin Dagenais, and Flight Paramedic Chris Snowball. All four of them joined the company relatively recently: Filliter joined in March 2013, Dupuy in August 2012, Dagenais in November 2011, and Snowball in November 2011.

According to the company, weather was adequate for the mission being flown, and the helicopter that crashed was manufactured in 1980 and had been in service for more than 30 years.

"We wish to express our thanks for the overwhelming outpouring of support we have received from the Ontario public as well as EMS, health care, and aviation services across Canada and around the world," said Dr. Andrew McCallum, president and CEO of Ornge. "The entire organization remains steadfast in its dedication and commitment to the patients of Ontario during this difficult time."

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