A beacon of remembrance was lit at Quidi Vidi Lake yesterday as the Honourable Paul Davis, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, officially dedicated the Offshore Helicopter Accident Memorial. The memorial pays tribute to the victims of Cougar 491 and the 1985 Universal Helicopter crashes.
“After centuries of making our living from the sea, our province is no stranger to hardship and tragedy. In recent years, our livelihoods have continued to be dependent on the sea, but increasingly so in the offshore industry. The Cougar 491 and the 1985 Universal Helicopter crashes certainly impacted the province as a whole. It is our sincere hope that this memorial will not only be a lasting reminder of those who lost their lives in these helicopter tragedies, but also a place that speaks to the impact they had on the lives of all who knew them.”
– The Honourable Paul Davis, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador
On March 13, 1985, six offshore oil industry workers died when a Universal helicopter crashed after leaving the Bow Drill oil rig in Placentia Bay. On March 12, 2009, Cougar 491 crashed while en route to the SeaRose FPSO in the White Rose oil field and Hibernia Platform in the Hibernia oilfield, killing 17 of the 18 passengers onboard.
“As a government, it was important to us that this memorial was fitting and respectfully represented the individuals whose lives were lost in these helicopter tragedies. Through the work of a dedicated committee and incredible design team, a monument was created to keep memories alive, have it embodied in light as a constant beacon of remembrance, and make it a place where all who visited could reflect and learn more about the tragic accidents.”
– The Honourable Tony Cornect, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation
In partnership with the Provincial Government, the City of St. John’s donated the land for the memorial site and provided technical assistance such as facilitation of its construction, electrical inspections and review of site drawings.
“The City of St. John’s is proud to support this important monument. It not only memorializes a tragic moment in our past but, more importantly, this monument is a standing testament to strength as a community, courage in the face of adversity and hope for the future.”
– Danny Breen, Ward 1 Councillor Danny Breen, City of St. John’s
Designed by artist Luben Boykov and landscape architect Frederick Hann, the monument’s design includes a spiraling stainless steel sculpture at its centre which is representative of the aerial screw prototype of the first rotary-type flying machine envisioned by Leonardo da Vinci in the 16th century. Along the spiral of the aerial screw, the names of the 23 victims of both helicopter tragedies have been cut into the stainless steel. Light is the prominent feature of the memorial, shining skyward through the open cutwork of the names.
1) The Offshore Helicopter Accident Memorial, which honours the victims of Cougar 491 and the 1985 Universal Helicopter crashes, was officially designated at a ceremony at Quidi Vidi Lake, St. John’s.
2) The monument’s design includes a spiraling stainless steel sculpture at its centre which is representative of the aerial screw prototype of the first rotary-type flying machine envisioned by Leonardo da Vinci in the 16th century.
3) The names of the 23 victims of both helicopter tragedies have been cut into the stainless steel with light as a prominent feature of the memorial, shining skyward through the open cutwork of the names.
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