Canadian CH-148 Cyclone Helicopter Crashes; 1 Soldier Killed, 5 Missing

The search for the missing five soldiers after the crash of a Canadian CH-148 Cyclone Helicopter in the Ionian Sea continued on Thursday, while one dead body had been recovered.

The Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclone helicopter was operating in the waters between Greece and Italy when it crashed into the Ionian Sea.

The deceased was identified as Sub-Lieutenant Abbigail Cowbrough, a Maritime Systems Engineering Officer, originally from Toronto, Ontario.

The search continues for the missing:

  • Captain Brenden Ian MacDonald, Pilot, originally from New Glasgow, Nova Scotia
  • Captain Kevin Hagen, Pilot, originally from Nanaimo, British Columbia
  • Captain Maxime Miron-Morin, Air Combat Systems Officer, originally from Trois-Rivières, Québec
  • Sub-Lieutenant Matthew Pyke, Naval Warfare Officer, originally from Truro, Nova Scotia
  • Master Corporal Matthew Cousins, Airborne Electronic Sensor Operator, originally from Guelph, Ontario

The helicopter was based on the RCN Halifax-class frigate HMCS Fredericton (FFH 337) participating in NATO’s SNMG2 (Standing NATO Maritime Group 2) naval task force in the Mediterranean Sea under CAF’s Operation REASSURANCE.

At the time of the crash, the Canadian ship was participating in collaborative training with Italian and Turkish ships. The helicopter was conducting concurrent flight operations.

HMCS Fredericton and NATO allies continue to search for the other five members of the helicopter’s crew.

An “operational pause” was ordered for the CH-148 fleet right after the crash. A Flight Safety team from the RCAF from Canada will be dispatched to investigate the circumstances of the accident.

HMCS Fredericton deployed from Halifax, N.S., on January 20, 2020, for a six-month deployment under Operation REASSURANCE. The ship’s deployment is part of a range of military activities undertaken by the CAF to support NATO assurance and deterrence measures. These activities include the provision of military capabilities for training, exercises, demonstrations and assigned NATO tasks and demonstrate Canada’s commitment to promote security and stability in Central and Eastern Europe, reported the CAF.

General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defense Staff shared his condolences, tweeting, “ “As announced, 1 CAF member is deceased & 5 missing following a helicopter crash in the Ionian Sea. On behalf of the entire CAF I send our deepest condolences to her family, friends & shipmates. May her memory be a source of comfort & inspiration to us all. We will remember.”

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