ORNGE, a medical flight service company based in Ontario has been cleared of negligence in the 2013 air ambulance crash that resulted in four deaths. An Ontario court judge ruled that the company’s failure to provide night vision goggles to their two pilots who were killed in the crash wasn’t negligence.
Charges Dismissed Under Canadian Labour Code
Justice Bruce Duncan had to dismiss all the three charges that were made against ORNGE based on Canadian Labour Code. The decision has triggered the need to take a critical look at the current safety regulations under which air ambulance providers in the country are governed. The judge explained that decisions need to be made objectively and in a dispassionate manner, as required by the law.
The judge went on to explain how it is unavoidable for the proceedings to appear technical and harsh. He then assured families and friends that the lives lost during the crash have not been forgotten. The people who died in the crash were all staff members of the medical flight service company.
Medical Flight Service Companies were not Required to Provide Visual Aids in 2013
Upon his dismissal of the two counts regarding the company’s failure to provide night vision goggles to their pilots, the judge explained that there were several reasons why no reasonable operator would have introduced visual aids in 2013. For instance, there was no requirement under Transport Canada and the use of visual aids was uncommon in Canada at the time.
In his 33-page decision, the judge also wrote that all the crew members had the capability to fly on instruments alone. Besides, there was also the life expectancy of S76s, which was involved in the crash and was already 30 years old at the time. As a reason for this, there was no justification for the public cost of retrofitting them.