(Source : NATO Maritime Command) – Helicopter crash while in support of Standing NATO Forces

NORTHWOOD, United Kingdom – Commander of NATO Maritime Command, Vice Admiral Keith Blount expresses his condolences after a Canadian military helicopter crashed while operating in the Ionian Sea, between Greece and Italy on 29 April 2020.

“The end of this week has brought with it the tragic news of a helicopter crash from one of our NATO warships in the eastern Mediterranean. As one NATO family our sympathy, and prayers are extended to all involved, but particularly the family and friends of those who were on board the helicopter and the entire ship’s company of the Fredericton. Times like this remind us of the perils of operating at sea and the courage and commitment of those who do. With the equally resolute support of our families and loved ones we navigate these challenges, but it is never easy,” said Vice Admiral Blount.

A Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclone helicopter based on the Canadian frigate Fredericton crashed while operating in waters between Greece and Italy on 29 April 2020.

Canada confirmed that 1 life was lost (…) on Thursday.

A search continues with SNMG2 ships on scene (Flagship ITS Virginio Fasan, TCG Salihreis and HMCS Fredericton), two organic helicopters (One SH-70 and Two SH-90), rigid-hulled inflatable boats conducting the search for remaining five missing. ITS Carabinieri joined the SNMG2 units during the search operations. Two P-72 aircraft from the Italian Air Force 72th Squadron based in Sigonella Air Base (Sicily), as well as one SH-90 from the Italian Navy FREMM “ITS Carabiniere”, one SH-70 from the Hellenic Fleet and one US Navy P-8 Poseidon also contributed to the search, as well as one C130 from Hellenic Fleet on standby 15 minutes.

HMCS Fredericton is a unit of Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2), along with ITS Fasan (Italy), and TCG Salihreis (Turkey).

The incident is currently under investigation.

In Memoriam


Photo Twitter © @canadianforces


Source : May 1, 2020 – Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces (https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/news/2020/05/search-efforts-transition-to-recovery-mission-following-helicopter-accident.html)

Today, the search and rescue efforts of Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) officially transitioned into search and recovery efforts, following Wednesday’s tragic accident involving a Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) CH-148 Cyclone helicopter in the Mediterranean Sea.

At this time, one member, Sub-Lieutenant Abbigail Cowbrough, a Marine Systems Engineering Officer, originally from Toronto, Ontario, has been confirmed deceased.

The missing five members who were aboard the aircraft are now officially considered missing and presumed deceased:

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

Additional remains have been discovered during the search, but cannot be identified at this time. The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) will be doing everything possible over the next several days to confirm known details with the families.

NATO Allies will be continuing recovery efforts at the scene as HMCS Fredericton departs for port in Italy. The ship is expected to arrive the morning of May 2, 2020, local time in Italy.

A RCAF Flight Safety team will depart Canada today to investigate the circumstances of the accident. They will begin their work immediately upon arrival.

The helicopter was deployed with HMCS Fredericton in the Mediterranean Sea 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.

We extend our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of our fallen and we hope they take comfort in knowing that you are not grieving alone.”

Photo 1 © Twitter @RoyalCanNavy