Published on January 26th, 2020 | by Mark Dwyer0
Rescue 116 Report Delayed
The final report by the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) into the fatal accident involving Rescue 116 (Sikorsky S-92A, EI-ICR) on 14th March 2017 has been delayed pending a review. The 333 page draft final report was circulated to stakeholders in November. Regulation 15 of the Air Navigation Regulations 2009 states that “Any person who has been served with a draft final report under Regulation 12 may, within a period of 28 days of receiving it, serve on the Minister written notice (in these Regulations referred to as a “notice of re-examination”) that the person wishes any findings and conclusions in that report that appear to reflect adversely on the person’s reputation”. It’s unclear which party has requested the re-examination.
This is the first time in the 25 year history of the AAIU (and over 1000 reports) that a report has been referred to a review board. According to the regulations, “The review board shall consist of a chairperson (who shall be either a barrister or solicitor of not less than 10 years’ standing, or a person who, in the Minister’s opinion, possesses aeronautical, engineering or other special knowledge or experience of air navigation or aviation), and may also include one or more persons who, in the Minister’s opinion, possesses aeronautical, engineering, legal or other special knowledge, to act as technical assessors to assist the chairperson in conducting the re-examination.” The review board will be held in private and a report prepared for the Minister. Given this lengthy process and that we are in the midst of a General Election, it’s unlikely that the report will be published before the third anniversary of the accident in March.
Separately, in accounts filed to the Companies Office, CHC Ireland DAC (operator of Rescue 116) has said the accident “could result in legal and regulatory proceedings” which “could materially affect our revenue and profitability”. The accounts went on to say “it is too early to determine the extent of the impact of the accident on our results of operations or financial condition based on information currently available”.
CHC Ireland DAC is contracted to the Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport (via the Irish Coast Guard) for provision of helicopter Search and Rescue (SAR) Services. The contract was valued at €630.4 million (incl. VAT) when it was signed in September 2010 and will run until 2022. The contract was projected to cover approximately 7500 missions. In 2019 CHC operated 770 helicopter missions from its four bases in Dublin, Shannon, Sligo and Waterford.