Greg and Fran Sewell prepare to launch their website next week

Parents continue their push for air safety

Transport Canada regulations targeted by South Surrey couple

When it comes to pushing for small-aircraft safety reforms, Greg Sewell has followed all the proper steps – researched what exists and what doesn’t, made note of seemingly obvious places for improvements, compiled it all into an easy-to-peruse binder and presented it to those with the power to enact change.

But as the third anniversary of the plane crash that killed daughter Lauren and her boyfriend, Dallas Smith, approaches with no sign that the calls for change are being taken seriously, he says he’s tired of feeling ignored.

On Aug. 13, www.smallaircraftsafetyreform.com will launch, calling – in a decidedly more public manner – on Transport Canada to finally act on repeated recommendations from the Transportation Safety Board and the coroner’s service and mandate that small aircraft manufactured prior to July 1978 be retrofitted with shoulder harnesses.

And, he’s inviting those who agree that it’s high time such a step – and six others he’s recommending – to sign an e-petition demanding action.

“What happened to Lauren should not happen to any other family,” Sewell said Friday, as he and his wife, Fran, previewed the website for Peace Arch News at their South Surrey home. “It’s just screaming out for change, the government is ignoring it and we want the regulations changed.

“There will be more deaths, as long as the government continues to do nothing.”

Reached Friday, a Transport Canada official said someone would respond to PAN’s requests for comment yesterday (Tuesday), but it did not arrive by press time.

Lauren Sewell, 24, and Smith, 30 had been dating less than six months when the Piper Twin Comanche they were passengers in crashed into a wooded area just west of Kelowna on Aug. 13, 2012.

Smith, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, died on impact. Lauren, who had been seated immediately behind the pilot, died two days later from what doctors told her parents was an “unsurvivable brain injury.”

A coroner’s report issued last October agreed, and ruled the crash accidental.

However, it also made two recommendations: that planes like the Piper be retrofitted with shoulder harnesses; and that consideration be given to development of a mountain-flying course.

“The coroner told me (that) had she been wearing a shoulder harness, she would’ve probably been out of that hospital in 30 days,” Sewell said.

For Sewell, it was a familiar message. Findings in a Transportation Safety Board report on the crash that was issued in November 2013 noted “the safety of passengers could have been improved if the aircraft had been equipped with shoulder harnesses to complement the available lap belts.”

At a news conference held that month in response to the report, Sewell noted Transport Canada had received “dozens” of TSB reports in the last 20 years that highlighted the increased risk of injury associated with a lack of shoulder harnesses in such aircraft. Those recommendations, he said at the time, have “fallen on deaf ears.”

He and Fran delivered their proposal for change to Minister of Transport Lisa Raitt’s Milton, Ont. constituency office last November. Promised a response “within months,” they’re still waiting, despite having made followup calls and receiving the same assurance.

“It will be nine months next week,” Sewell said. “I’ve become very frustrated as an individual trying to reform the laws in this country. This is something that clearly the government is ignoring.”

Service bulletins that recommend the move – such as one issued in January 1995 for the Piper – are also not enough, Sewell said, noting change will only be assured if Transport Canada issues an airworthiness directive.

Seventeen such directives were issued for the Piper in the years prior to the August 2012 crash, he said.

“Had they made the shoulder restraint the 18th one, our daughter would still be here today.”

Just Posted

New police force in Surrey must avoid VPD, RCMP errors made in Pickton case: Oppal

Boots are scheduled to be on the ground by spring 2021

PHOTOS: Surrey designer uses toilet paper to make a dress for annual Toronto show

‘The dress is very experimental and avante garde,’ says Guildford-based Alex S. Yu

Police issue warning after four overdoses in North Delta

Police and emergency health services use naloxone to revive four overdose victims Thursday morning

Cloverdale town hall adresses climate change and loss of biodiversity

Meeting co-hosted by Cloverdale-Langley City MP John Aldag, Camp We Empower draws about 70 people

Province approves Surrey’s plan to establish municipal police force

Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth gives green light to controversial plan

Trudeau vows to stand firm against ‘increasingly assertive’ China

China has accused Canada of meddling in its affairs

Conan turns to the Property Brothers for tips on buying Greenland

Jonathan Scott suggests removing glaciers and mountains to bring in ‘more natural light’

Forests minister visits B.C. town hit by multiple mill shutdowns

A third of Mackenzie turns out for rally, not much to cheer about

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

North Van music teacher accused of sexual misconduct involving girls

Police believe other victims could be out there after the arrest of Lamar Victor Alviar

B.C. family stranded in Croatia desperate to come home

Funds being raised to bring back mom and two children

B.C. man on trial for daughters’ murders an intruder broke in

Andrew Berry takes stand in his defense for December 2017 deaths of young daughters

‘Plenty of time for a deal’: Teachers’ union expects kids back in school on Sept. 3

BCTF says class size, composition at the heart of the issue

Most Read

l -->