Helicopter Cyclone crashed in Greece: a military dead and five missing, including a Quebec

Hélicoptère Cyclone écrasé en Grèce: une militaire morte et cinq disparus, dont un du Québec 

Hélicoptère Cyclone écrasé en Grèce: une militaire morte et cinq disparus, dont un du Québec 

According to the public tv channel Greek ERT, “a body has also been” discovered ” with the debris of the helicopter CH-148 Cyclone “in international waters off the Greek island of Kefalonia”.

April 30, 2020 9h12

Updated at 15h32


Helicopter Cyclone crashed in Greece: a military dead and five missing, including a Quebec

Lee Berthiaume

The Canadian Press


OTTAWA — The prime minister Justin Trudeau confirmed on Thursday that six military personnel were aboard the canadian helicopter that crashed Wednesday in the Ionian sea, off the coast of Greece.

The department of national Defence has confirmed the death of the military Abbigail Cowbrough, and has identified the five other soldiers officially listed as missing.

Captain Maxime Miron-Morin, systems officer air battle, a native of Three Rivers, is among those members missing.

The others are: captain Brenden MacDonald, a pilot, a native of New Glasgow (Nova Scotia); captain Kevin Hagen, a pilot, a native of Nanaimo (British Columbia); the ensign 1st class Matthew Pyke, an officer of naval war, a native of Truro, Nova Scotia, and master corporal Matthew Cousins, airborne electronic sensor operator, a native of Guelph (Ontario).

Mr. Trudeau has confirmed that a body had been recovered and the search continued into the sea to find the other five soldiers who were in the helicopter CH-148 Cyclone, which crashed in the sea during a training exercise in the Organization of the North Atlantic treaty (NATO) on Wednesday. “They are all heroes”, he said at a press conference in Ottawa.

The chief of the Defence staff, Jonathan Vance, had earlier confirmed the identity of the military found: it is Abbigail Cowbrough, ensign 1st class.

Ships of war and canadian aircraft and allies are looking for since Wednesday, the other soldiers missing. The general Vance said at a press conference that the search had been complicated by the scattering of the debris and because the helicopter crashed in a sea of 3000 meters of depth. It was still unknown Thursday what efforts would be made to recover the wreckage of the device.

The exact cause of the accident remains unknown, but the chief of staff, has ruled out Thursday any act “hostile”. The minister of Defence, Harjit Sajjan, said the flight data recorders and voice of the Cyclone had been recovered after being detached from the helicopter, and that they would soon be returned to Canada for analysis. A team of military investigators was also to be deployed in the area as early as Thursday to try to determine the cause of the accident.

A representative of Sikorsky Aircraft, manufacturer of the Cyclone, is also sent to the site following a request of the military. “Sikorsky extends its condolences to all the people concerned,” said the giant us defence contractors Lockheed Martin, owner of Sikorsky. The general Vance indicated that all of the Cyclone are temporarily nailed to the ground, for a “break operational”. The royal canadian air force has 17 other Cyclone helicopter in its fleet.

The father of the victim, “a broken and emptied”

A few hours before the press conference, the father of Abbigail Cowbrough, Shane, had identified her daughter as one of the victims of the accident. “I’m shattered and gutted”, he wrote on Facebook. “There are no words. Thou hast made proud for always. I will always love you and you me will be missed every moment.”

Josianne Garrioch, of Gatineau, was the best friend of Abbigail Cowbrough, maid of honor at her wedding. “It was a person really charismatic and bubbly, someone you want to mingle all the time,” said Ms. Garrioch.

The two women had known at the royal military College in Kingston, Ontario, where Mrs. Cowbrough was responsible for the set of bagpipes during a semester, and Ms. Garrioch took care of the dancers of the scottish Highlands. “It is related of friendship around our common passion for the music and the dance,” said Ms. Garrioch.

A baptist church in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, has also indicated that the christian community had lost “a wonderful woman” who had played the bagpipe during the Remembrance day last fall.

Prime minister Trudeau has offered his “most sincere condolences to the families, friends, their shipmates and to the members of the canadian armed Forces, to the people of Halifax and Nova Scotia”.

On a mission to NATO

The HMCS Fredericton was moved in January to its home port of Halifax, with the Cyclone, for a six-month deployment in Europe. Although the Navy has since been repatriated several of its ships because of the COVID-19, Fredericton has pursued his mission.

The helicopter CH-148 Cyclone carry a crew of four people, including two pilots, an operator and tactical operator sensors, but can also accommodate other passengers. Ms Cowbrough was not part of the regular crew of the Cyclone, but it had been allowed to board the helicopter during the flight, said on Thursday the general Vance.

The Cyclone is mainly deployed on ships of war; they are used for hunting submarines, surveillance at sea and search and rescue. The helicopter had departed 16: 35, local time, on Wednesday, during a training exercise involving the Fredericton as well as ships of war from italy and turkey in the framework of a maritime force of NATO in the Mediterranean, said Thursday the general Vance. The camera was on her ship home when the city of Fredericton has lost contact with the crew, at 18: 52.

Mr. Vance had not meant to say if there had been a distress call before he disappeared. The flight recorders were detached from the helicopter when it hit the water, he said, and flares are triggered automatically.

The chief of staff then took the defence of the Cyclone, the army only uses it on missions with actual since by the end of 2018, after more than a decade of development problems, delays and cost overruns.

They had indicated the previous day that the helicopter, a CH-148 Cyclone, deployed aboard the frigate HMCS Fredericton, “had been lost while he was participating in exercises with allied members near Greece”, in a previous message published on Facebook and Twitter.

The frigate and the helicopter were deployed from January 20, 2020, according to the website of the canadian department of Defence.

According to Juanita Chang, “the frigate HMCS Fredericton is a marine unit of NATO, which had sailed recently from the naval base of Souda, situated on the Greek island of Crete”.

This unit took part in “military exercises with forces of the Turkish navy, and then with those of the Greek navy last week”.

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