Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Burton Winters tragedy

I have decided to write about this story now despite it having occurred about two months ago. Burton Winters was a 14 year old boy from the community of Makkovik, Labrador. He had gotten lost in bad weather after visiting his Grandmother and perished on sea ice 11 km from Makkovik. He was first reported missing Jan 29, 2012 and was found three days later Feb. 01. There are two things that really stand out in this story. One is Burton's sheer determination to make it back home and his apparent will to survive. He had gotten stuck and abandoned his snowmobile. Apparently he walked 19 km before he succumbed to hypothermia. The other thing that really stands out in this story is SAR's response to the incident. They failed to show up in time to save the boys life. Their assistance was requested but by the time they arrived it was too late. Admiral Gardam of DND's response was that the two CH-146 Griffon's(secondary search assets) in Goose Bay were out of service, it was not their responsibility to call back to confirm if military search and rescue assets were needed or requested(it is interesting to note here that this so called "time tested call back protocol" was never even heard of by search and rescue officials) and that their primary search and rescue asset the CH-149 Cormorant could not be used in case a major event occurred at sea. The third reason was particularly cruel given the fact that a CH-149 Cormorant picked up the Minister of National Defence from a fishing lodge and flew him to the Gander Airport. CBC's The Fifth Estate did a story on Burton Winters and turned up more questions than answers.

Just got hit with a major storm

Everyone is digging out after our first big storm of the winter, winter being almost over. It started Monday March 26 and we didn't see the sun again until yesterday, Friday March 30. I figured we had around 100 cm of snow from start to finish and I wasn't far off. We had more than 90 cm I think. Snow is almost up to the eaves of our house. Some peoples houses are almost buried over. Dad went to Goose Bay for medical appointments on Monday and never got back till Friday afternoon. There were quite a few people waiting for the road to open to get back from Goose Bay. James was quite happy to try out his new snow shoes as you can see.