Wednesday, February 06, 2008

You thought they were warm?

Given the time of year, the water temperature in Trinity Bay and the fact that both mariners were in the water, none of this makes much sense.
A military commander says a helicopter search team would have responded differently to a tug sinking last week if they had known two men were so close to death.

The tug Check-Mate III sank quickly in Trinity Bay, in eastern Newfoundland, leading to the deaths of its two crew.

Larry Parsons, 69, and Christopher Wade Oram, 32, were dead by the time they were pulled out of the water by the crew of the Canadian Coast Guard vessel George R. Pearkes.

Before the vessel arrived, a search team aboard a Cormorant helicopter hovered above the scene for 14 minutes.

That's an odd behaviour in itself.

Maj. John Van Oosten, who runs the search and rescue program in Atlantic Canada, said the Cormorant crew that had been dispatched from Gander could see Parsons and Oram in two-metre swells when they arrived.

"They were moving around, at least one of them was," said Van Oosten, who said the crew decided that the best course of action was to wait for the nearby George R. Pearkes to arrive.

Van Oosten told CBC News that what the Cormorant crew did not know is that the men's survival suits were full of water.

When a fast-rescue craft from the Pearkes arrived on the scene, both men were dead.
There has to be more to this. The basic information suggests that a rescue crew, without establishing communications with mariners in obvious distress, assumed they were in good condition and watched them wallow in freezing water.

That's one investigation I'll really want to read.

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