Crew members onboard HMCS HALIFAX conduct inflight refueling with the embarked CH-148 Cyclone helicopter, during Operation REASSURANCE, in the Mediterranean Sea on January 6, 2020. The helicopter is the same type that crashed into the sea off the coast of Greece. All CF Cylones are temporarily grounded until the cause of the crash is determined Photo: Corporal Braden Trudeau, Trinity - Formation Imaging Services- DND

Deep sea recovery of Canadian military helicopter and crew ended

In a press statement released Wednesday afternoon, the Canadian Armed Forces have indicated the recovery effort of a military helicopter and crew in the Ionian Sea has ended.

The team of U.S Navy, and CAF personnel spent eight days at the site between the coasts of Sicily and Greece where the Cyclone helicopter with 6 crew crashed as it was returning to its ship, the HMCS Fredericton.

The aircraft was on a routine training mission as part of a larger NATO exercise.

The specialised ‘Remora’ remote operated recovery vehicle (ROV) was lowered into the water late Tuesday evening May 26th, taking about three hours to descend to the depth of about 3,000 meters to the ocean floor where the statement said the wreckage was located within minutes.

The extreme depth required unique recovery equipment which the Canadian military does not have. They requested help from the U.S. Navy and their deepwater remotely operated vehicle. (via CBC)

The statement by Rear-Admiral Craig Baines, Commander Maritime Forces Atlantic says the helicopter was in several pieces noting, “No portion of the main cabin was left intact following the crash, including the external cockpit structure.  The largest piece at the wreckage site was the rear deck/ramp area of the helicopter and the next largest intact piece was the tail pylon and tail rotor blades”. It also noted the debris was spread over an area of over 200 square metres.

Remains of crew members were recovered but the statement indicates that the remains have not been identified and “it is unknown at this time whether we have found everyone”.

Clockwise from top left: Capt. Kevin Hagen, Sub-Lt. Abbigail Cowbrough, Capt. Brenden Ian MacDonald, Master Cpl. Matthew Cousins, Sub-Lt. Matthew Pyke, Capt. Maxime Miron-Morin. The ramp ceremony this afternoon will be live streamed on the CAF Facebook page at 2:15 (Department of National Defence)

 The recovery ship EDT Hercules and team are now enroute to  Augusta Bay Italy, near an Italian Naval Station where it should arrive Thursday morning. The remains of the crew will then be prepared to be sent home to Canada on the weekend, and on to Toronto. There a forensic pathologist will confirm identities and the number of personnel recovered.

Six members aboard the aircraft were killed when it crashed into the sea on April 29th within sight of the ship.  The body of Sub-Lt Abbigail Cowbrough 23, was located immediately after the crash, partial remains of one of the pilots, Capt Brendan Ian MacDonald were recovered sometime later.

Categories: International
Tags: , , ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

For reasons beyond our control, and for an undetermined period of time, our comment section is now closed. However, our social networks remain open to your contributions.