Wednesday, March 21, 2012


The tragic story of  a 14 year old boy  who perished alone on the frozen ice on the North Coast of Labrador near his home of Makovik will be the focus of an investigative piece on CBC Television's "The Fifth Estate"  this Friday night.

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 

The show airs at 9:30 p.m. NT on CBC-TV.

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