UPDATE: Royal Canadian Navy’s Helicopter Accident

Image Source: Royal Canadian Armed Forces

The news from the Ionian sea on April 29 burned everyone’s heart. A CH-148 Cyclone helicopter crashed into the sea near the Kefalonia island in the Ionian Sea. The helicopter went missing after taking off from the Canadian frigate Fredericton which is a part of SNMG2.

According to the announcement of the Royal Canadian Armed Forces, unfortunately, one member of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) was killed on Wednesday, April 29, 2020, and five other members remain missing following an accident involving a Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) CH-148 Cyclone helicopter.

Killed was Sub-Lieutenant Abbigail Cowbrough, a Marine Systems Engineering Officer, originally from Toronto, Ontario.

Confirmed missing are:

  • 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

“I was deeply saddened to learn yesterday of the tragic incident involving a Cyclone helicopter off the coast of Greece and the loss of our members of the Canadian Armed Forces. I wish to express my deepest condolences to their families, friends, and colleagues. Search and rescue efforts are ongoing with our NATO Allies for the five missing members and all available resources are being dedicated to this effort. This accident is a painful reminder of the dangers that members of Canada’s military face every day to ensure the safety and security of Canadians.” said Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence of Canada.

Deputy Minister of National Defence of Canada, Chief of the Defence Staff of Canadian Armed Forces, Chief of the Royal Canadian Navy and Commander Canadian Joint Operations Command also shared their messages of condolences.

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Condolence message of Vice Admiral Art McDonald, Chief of Royal Canadian Navy

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

The helicopter was deployed in the Mediterranean Sea with HMCS Fredericton as part of Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 under Operation REASSURANCE. At the time of the accident, the Canadian ship was conducting collaborative training with Italian and Turkish ships. The Cyclone was conducting concurrent flight operations.

A Flight Safety Investigation will be conducted to ensure Canadian personnel can continue to have confidence in their equipment and procedures. One of the aims of the Flight Safety program is to investigate such occurrences with the objective of quickly identifying effective preventive measures that will either prevent or reduce the risk of similar occurrences in the future.