Burton Winters walked 19 kilometers before succumbing to the elements.
The death created a whirlwind of protest against the procedures and operations of Canada's Search and Rescue Services in the region. Candle light vigils were been held in every community in Labrador and in many on the island of Newfoundland.
While ground search and rescue is a provincial responsibility, the Provincial Government has been very critical of the Department of National Defence's handling of the search. The military was unable to respond to the initial call for help, on the morning Winters went missing, because weather and mechanical problems kept helicopters in Goose Bay grounded. Protocols demanding that searchers had to call the military a second time were followed instead of a bit of common sense.
The Department of National Defence has since changed how they handles search and rescue calls. Military officials will no longer wait for a call back from anyone needing assistance in a search. Minister Peter MacKay rejected increasing military search and rescue capabilities in Labrador beyond the two Griffon helicopters currently in the region.
Labrador’s 294,330 square kilometers of land and 7,886 kilometers of coastline warrant a reliable round the clock search and rescue team. So far the
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