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Vancouver Airport Authority President and CEO Comments on Events of October 14, 2007

November 02, 2007

November 2, 2007 - 7:00 AM

On October 14, Robert Dziekanski died at our airport. At this point, the circumstances and factors that may have contributed to this event are not all clear; what is clear is that a terrible tragedy occurred.

I extend my heartfelt condolences to Mr. Dziekanski's family, knowing that I could not hope to speak to the loss that they have suffered.

I would also like to express my concerns for those people who were in any way touched by this extraordinary and tragic occurrence - our employees working that night, the various agencies involved, the emergency responders and the passengers who may have come across the scene.

We all want to understand the events leading up to the death of Mr. Dziekanski. Since this occurred, it has become clear that the answer to "What happened here?" is not simple. This is a tragic event unlike any we've seen before at YVR, involving several agencies and a complex and extraordinary set of circumstances.

Our usual policy in situations involving medical issues, up to and including fatalities, is to respect the privacy of the individuals involved. We believe this is the most respectful and appropriate approach to take in this case, and that the best way for the family to receive information about this tragedy is through the Coroner.

Our highest priority has been to be completely transparent with the Coroner and to assist with the investigation by providing all available information. We have cooperated fully with every request for information made by the investigating parties.

We understand that the public is appropriately anxious for information and we are here today to explain the actions we are taking.

Immediately following this incident we began an internal review. As part of that review, we are speaking with employees; we are evaluating our security procedures and protocols; we are looking at how we provide translation services; we are examining how we respond to medical emergencies in the terminals; and we are revisiting our methods for communicating with Canada Border Services Agency, which has the difficult task of protecting the security and integrity of our border and the Customs Hall at Vancouver International Airport.

Our review is not complete. Based on our review to date, we are confident that our current procedures meet the safety and security needs of our customers. We realize that this is an isolated and highly unusual set of circumstances. We understand that you have many questions.

We may not be able to provide you with answers to all of those questions. Please understand that there are a number of organizations and agencies that work at the airport that have special and exclusive responsibilities. Only the Coroner has access to all of the related information and can provide an accurate picture of exactly what occurred.

We are eager to know the facts; we appreciate your understanding and your patience while this important and independent Coroner's investigation is underway.

- Larry Berg, President and CEO, Vancouver Airport Authority


For more information:
YVR Media Relations
Vancouver International Airport Authority

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