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Ornge failed to protect safety of pilots: federal investigators

Nov. 19, 2013, Toronto – Health Minister Deb Matthews insists Ontario's troubled air ambulance service is taking steps to fix safety problems following a deadly crash in the province's north.

November 19, 2013
By The Canadian Press

Nov. 19, 2013, Toronto – Health Minister Deb Matthews insists Ontario's troubled air ambulance service is taking steps to fix safety problems following a deadly crash in the province's north.

Scandal-plagued Ornge suffered another blow after federal investigators said it failed to protect the health and safety of its helicopter pilots.

Two paramedics and two pilots died after their helicopter crashed May 31 in a remote area near Moosonee while on their way to pick up a patient in a First Nations community.

Federal investigators say Ornge failed to adequately educate the pilots on the health and safety hazards associated with northern operations, among other problems.

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They've directed Ornge – which is under a criminal probe – to correct all the problems by the end of May.

The organization says it will comply with those orders and take all necessary steps to ensure the safety of its staff.

Ornge has been under the microscope for nearly two years over financial irregularities.

The province's auditor general has questioned its business dealings and slammed the government for failing to oversee a publicly funded organization that received $730 million over five years and borrowed $300 million more.