On March 12, 2009 a helicopter carrying workers to offshore oil production platforms in the North Atlantic off the coast of Newfoundland crashed into the ocean. Seventeen of the people on board the helicopter perished that day. One survived.
Much has been learned since then about helicopter safety, thanks to an investigation into the cause of the crash and a public inquiry. But little has been said about the 17 people who lost their lives on that day 10 years ago. The families are now custodians of their legacies.
In 18 Souls: The Loss & Legacy of Cougar Flight 491, families and friends speak candidly—in many cases, for the first time—about what was really lost and what could have been, had fate been kind that day.
A decade later, regulators have not adopted key recommendations aimed at preventing a recurrence of this disaster. 18 Souls illustrates the importance of offshore safety through the raw emotion still resonating in the hearts and minds of those left behind, and pays tribute to and honours the memory of the passengers and crew of Cougar Flight 491.
Rod Etheridge is a veteran broadcast journalist with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He has reported on the most significant events of the past thirty years on Canada’s east coast. He has won a number of journalism awards including for an inquiry into cancer screening errors and a fatal fire on Bell Island.