One Canadian military solider has been reported dead and five others missing after a chopper of Canadian Armed Forces crashed in international waters between Greece and Italy. The CH-148 Cyclone, sign "Stalker" was carrying six members of the Canadian Armed Forces, Four Royal Canadian Air Force members, and two Royal Canadian Navy when it crashed in the Ionian Sea on Wednesday evening.
The helicopter was attached to NATO forces for a mission called Operation Reassurance. As per media reports, the chopper went down when it was conducting training at the sea. The helicopter took off from the Halifax-class frigate HMCS Fredericton at around 4:35 p.m., Eastern European time, Chief of the Defence Staff, Canadian Armed forces Gen. Jonathan Vance informed.
It while the helicopter was returning to the ship it lost contact at 6:52 p.m. The crash was confirmed after flares were spotted in the water. Along with Canada, Italy, the US, Greece, and Turkey are also assisting with the rescue operation. As of now, one body of the deceased has been recovered, and search for the other five members is still underway.
Deceased identified: Canadian Armed Forces
Vance further added that the forces have recovered the aircraft's flight and voice recorders that were loaded with a beacon. An aircraft has been dispatched to recover the black box and investigate the reasons behind the crash. The crew member who was on board included the deceased Sub-Lt. Abbigail Cowbrough who was a marine systems engineering officer with Navy.
The other crew members who have been identified are Capt. Brenden Ian MacDonald, and Capt. Kevin Hagen, both pilots, Capt. Maxime Miron-Morin, an air combat systems officer, naval weapons officer Sub-Lt. Matthew Pyke, and Master Cpl. Matthew Cousins, an airborne electronic sensor operator.
Ageing fleet behind the crash?
Notably, questions are being raised on the operation ability of the aircraft as originally the Royal Canadian Air Force's Cyclone helicopters are used for hunting submarines, surveillance, and search and rescue. It was only after late 2018, the Navy started using them due to delays, cost overruns, and developmental challenges.