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A Piper Navajo is used by Atlantic Charters on medevac flights. Image supplied by Atlantic Charters.

Medical Evacuations Grounded In Grand Manan

By Tamara Steele Dec 20, 2022 | 3:35 PM

New regulations from Transport Canada regulations grounded medevac flights from Grand Manan as of Dec. 12.

The rules would require Atlantic Charters, which operates the emergency flights, to hire more pilots.

During an emergency call last week, an Ambulance NB plane couldn’t land in poor weather.

Grand Manan Mayor Bonnie Morse says a military helicopter dispatched by the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Nova Scotia transported the patient to the Saint John Regional Hospital.

“We’re very grateful that the patient made it to Saint John and there was a plan in place that got him there but, long-term that’s not sustainable,” Morse said.

The mayor said this situation has caused anxiety and worry for the residents.

Atlantic Charters released a statement surrounding medevac flights last Thursday.

President Melanie Sonnenberg said the impacts have been “outlined numerous times to the responsible parties.

“Under the new regulations, we are unable to accept medevacs without the necessary support and need to add additional crew to be in compliance with the new regulations,” said Sonnenberg.

“We are saddened by the position we have all been put in and look for a resolution with the Province that benefits our community.”

A delegation representing Grand Manan council travelled to Fredericton last week where they met with Premier Blaine Higgs, Health Minister Bruce Fitch and Fundy-The Isles-Saint John West MLA Andrea Anderson-Mason to work on finding a solution.

Morse said the idea of Grand Manan being given an isolated community designation has been raised.

“Things are different here and while we’ve always kind of known that, I think whether you are talking about the loss of a bank or the medevac service, we don’t necessarily fit into the same mould that a mainland community of our size might,” Morse said.

She said provincial officials were expected to get some clarity from the federal government this week.

“We’re going to follow up with them. Depending on what that clarity is, we’ll see what the next step is after that,” Morse said.


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