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Ottawa announces proposal of new offshore air safety regulations

The wreckage of the Cougar Helicopter flight 491 displayed to the media as the Transportation Safety Board reports on its findings, in St. John's Thursday. March 26, 2009. Ottawa is proposing new offshore air safety rules as recommended by the Transportation Safety board after this crash.

Paul Daly/The Canadian Press

Ottawa is proposing new regulations for helicopters flying offshore in response to recommendations from the Transportation Safety Board.

Transport Canada says the new regulations would prohibit offshore helicopter operations when weather or water conditions make ditching in the water unsafe and would require that all crew members wear a water immersion survival suit.

It would also require operators to carry an emergency underwater breathing apparatus for each passenger onboard.

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A news release says stakeholders will have 30 days to make comments before the regulations are finalized.

The Transportation Safety Board made these recommendations after Cougar Flight 491 crashed on March 12, 2009 off Newfoundland and Labrador while en route to an offshore oil platform.

Seventeen of the 18 people on board died.

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