Thursday, July 13, 2006

Sea Kings in the sun, Comorants ... in the sea

A few years back, some disgrunted and as yet still unnamed members of the Canadian Forces did a parody of Terry Jacks' 1974 hit Seasons in the Sun, called Sea Kings in the Sun, about the perennial problems the ancient class of Skikorsky helicopters were having -- including the fact they spent 30 hours in the shop for every one hour in the air.

One would think that after finally -- finally! -- beginning to replace those stupid Sea Kings things would finally get better. Wrong. We learn this morning that a fairly brand new Cormorant search and rescue chopper crashed this morning into the Atlantic, off the coast of Canso, Nova Scotia. Three servicepersons were killed.

As things start to get out of hand in Afghanistan, one can probably expect the body count to rise. We do not, however, expect people to die on training exercises before they're set off to patrol the seas or fight in the mountains and deserts. Are these new helicopters defective? Are they being maintained to standards not in line with the manufacturer's specifications? Or was this just one of those freak accidents?

More and more, Canadians are starting to realize that the "strong and proud" need all the help they can get. They sure as heck don't need setbacks like this.

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