Canadian Forces still unsure how to raise helicopter that crashed

Canadian Forces still unsure how to raise helicopter that crashed

OTTAWA — The Canadian military is still determining how to raise the wreckage of a military helicopter that crashed into the Mediterranean Sea last week, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said Thursday.

The crash killed six members of the Canadian Forces, though the remains of only one, Sub-Lt. Abbigail Cowbrough, have been recovered.

“We are actively working on options to recover the remaining fuselage, which will assist with the investigation,” Sajjan said. A seven-member team investigating the exact reasons for the crash is working from Italy, he said, and a parallel military investigation of the related circumstances is also underway.

The flight data recorders have been recovered and are being analyzed in Canada.

“This could take … over a year,” Sajjan said. But the families of the dead will be kept informed and so will the public, he promised.

Chief of the defence staff Gen. Jonathan Vance said the crash will be probed thoroughly but details about what happened to the Cyclone helicopter won’t be revealed in dribs and drabs.

“What you must know is that when that investigation is complete, or when it’s appropriate in the judgment of the (investigators), the families will be told first. Unadulterated, told exactly what they’ve got,” Vance said. “And then the public will be told. And so I know there’s great interest in speed here. We’re more interested in accuracy. There’s nothing self-evident about a crash.”

The helicopter was deployed aboard HMCS Fredericton on a NATO mission. The military says it was returning to the ship after a training exercise when it crashed.

Military statements, and Vance himself, first said the ship had “lost contact” with the helicopter, though the Forces later acknowledged that crew aboard the Fredericton saw it go down in deep water.

He said Thursday that the emphasis immediately after the crash was on seeking survivors, which was why the operation was first labelled a “search and rescue,” though it later came to be called a recovery.

“The reporting was done as best as we could, given the frantic, professional, intense effort by that crew, doing what they needed to do, and at the same time report up,” Vance said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended a repatriation ceremony at Canadian Forces Base Trenton on Wednesday, for Cowbrough’s remains and symbols of the other five crash victims who are missing and presumed dead.

Those are Capt. Brenden Ian MacDonald, Capt. Kevin Hagen, Capt. Maxime Miron-Morin, Sub-Lt. Matthew Pyke, and Master Cpl. Matthew Cousins

Trudeau said Thursday that he’d spoken to each of the six service members’ loved ones.

“All of them were heartbroken but all of them were also immensely proud of the life of service chosen by their loved one, as are we all,” Trudeau said.

Sajjan said he had given Cowbrough her degree when she graduated from the Royal Military College and met Cousins in 2016 aboard HMCS Charlottetown.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 7, 2020

The Canadian Press

Military

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘A miracle:’ 20 years after deadly tornado Alberta family thankful for survival

PINE LAKE, Alta. — Twenty years after a tornado swept through a… Continue reading

WestJet increasing service for August, but still remains far below a year ago

CALGARY — WestJet plans to restart non-stop flights from Calgary to London… Continue reading

Oilpatch optimism expected to rise as difficult second-quarter finally ends

CALGARY — Analysts say a rebound in oil prices as consumer demand… Continue reading

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

OTTAWA — A new poll suggests Canadians are torn on whether the… Continue reading

230 new COVID-19 cases reported over the weekend

City of Red Deer has nine active cases

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

David Marsden: The remaking of Westerner Park

Red Deer residents have been tested by the COVID-19 pandemic in innumerable… Continue reading

NHL announces 30 positive COVID tests in Phase 2, 13 more outside league protocol

NEW YORK — The NHL says 30 players tested positive for COVID-19… Continue reading

Toronto launches drive-in entertainment plan including screenings, concerts

Toronto is launching a drive-in entertainment program as the city extends its… Continue reading

‘Big Brother Canada’ to return with host Arisa Cox as executive producer

TORONTO — “Big Brother Canada” will return for a ninth season with… Continue reading

In reversal, UK says it will make masks mandatory in shops

LONDON — The British government decided Monday to require people to wear… Continue reading

New Zealand opposition leader quits 2 months from election

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — The leader of New Zealand’s opposition National Party… Continue reading

Federal judge voids Georgia ‘heartbeat’ abortion restriction

ATLANTA — A federal judge on Monday permanently blocked Georgia’s 2019 “heartbeat”… Continue reading

Mayor: US Marshals investigate shooting at Portland protest

PORTLAND, Ore. — The U.S. Marshals Service is investigating after a protester… Continue reading

Most Read