Relatives of helicopter crash victims say time doesn’t heal all wounds

Karen and Joe Delaney's nephew, Corey Eddy, died in the crash of Cougar Flight 491. They say it feels like just yesterday when they found out Corey had died.  (Jessica Singer/CBC - photo credit)

Karen and Joe Delaney’s nephew, Corey Eddy, died in the crash of Cougar Flight 491. They say it feels like just yesterday when they found out Corey had died. (Jessica Singer/CBC – photo credit)

Jessica Singer/CBC

Jessica Singer/CBC

For Karen and Joe Delaney, time doesn’t heal all wounds.

They say it feels like only yesterday when they found out their nephew Corey Eddy died in a helicopter crash.

The Delaneys say they remember everything about the day Corey died. Although they have learned to live without seeing their nephew’s smile or hearing his laughter, they say the crash is always at the forefront of their minds.

“There are many ways to remember Corey. Fun, laughter, never boring. Always a smile on his face when he enters the room… We often wonder what life would be like if things never had to happen,” said Karin. “It doesn’t get any easier. It never goes away It’s always there. Always.”

“I know exactly where I’ve been, what I’ve been doing, how the day has unfolded,” added Joe. “To the minute.”

Jessica Singer/CBC

Jessica Singer/CBC

It has been 14 years since Cougar Flight 491 crashed en route to the oil fields off the coast of St. John’s on Sunday. Of the 18 crew members on board, 17 died in the March 12, 2009 tragedy.

Family members and loved ones visited the Quidi Vidi Lake Memorial on Sunday to pay their respects to those lost in the crash. The memorial also pays tribute to those who died in the Universal helicopter crash off the coast of Placentia on March 13, 1985, which killed six.

Heather Warren and Marie Morris also say that time is not a healer.

Gregory Morris – Warren’s husband and Morris’ son – died in the Cougar crash. The two remember Greg as someone who had an infectious sense of humor and made friends quickly.

Jessica Singer/CBC

Jessica Singer/CBC

He also rowed in St. John’s Regatta, Warren says, so visiting the Quidi Vidi nautical memorial in his honor sparks feelings of nostalgia.

“Everyone loved him, he was very popular,” Warren said. “To this day people still talk about him and how he was and how kind and generous.”

Morris says anniversary day is always a difficult one. She says the family has learned to manage their grief, but it’s difficult to remember and reflect on the day of the crash.

“When you wake up in the morning on the anniversary, it’s almost like you’re trying not to do it, but you think about the day it happened and everything that happened,” Morris said.

Jessica Singer/CBC

Jessica Singer/CBC

Sheldon Reid is an Offshore Chaplaincy with the Eastern Chaplaincy, currently serving on the Hibernia and Hebron platforms. He says it’s important to remember and reflect on tragedies like the Cougar crash because the province can learn how to prevent similar accidents and how to make life safer on the coast.

On this day, he says, the main thing is to remember those whose lives were cut short.

“It’s not just something you read about in history or something that’s passed,” Reid said while gazing at the Quidi Vidi Lake monument.

“These are real people, real families. You can see the emotions on people’s faces and in their words every year.”

An annual memorial service is held at the Elim Pentecostal Tabernacle in St. John’s on Sunday at 7:00 p.m.

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