EASTERN PASSAGE, N.S. — A stone monument was unveiled today on the first anniversary of a naval helicopter crash that claimed the lives of six Canadian Forces personnel when the aircraft plunged into the ocean close to its host ship.
The black granite, six-faced memorial is four feet tall, with the height meant to evoke the fourth month of the year — as the crash occurred on April 29, 2020 in the Ionian Sea.
The top of the obelisk at the entrance of Canadian Forces Base Shearwater in Nova Scotia includes the crest of the Cyclone helicopter, with its call sign Stalker 22 embedded in the stone.
Master Cpl. Matthew Cousins, Sub-Lt. Abbigail Cowbrough, Capt. Kevin Hagen, Capt. Brenden MacDonald, Capt. Maxime Miron-Morin, and Sub-Lt. Matthew Pyke died in the crash.
Some family members who live in the Halifax area — or who travelled to Nova Scotia and self-isolated — visited the monument on Wednesday in small groups, and a virtual ceremony was pre-recorded and released for the anniversary on Thursday.
The monument was unveiled for public viewing by two Canadian Forces members at 1:52 p.m. local time, the hour the helicopter went down near HMCS Fredericton off the coast of Greece.
A few people gathered, socially distanced, to observe in silence, as the two military personnel saluted and then marched away.
The original ceremony was to have been a live event with invited guests, but the province has gone into a COVID-19 lockdown and most outdoor gatherings are prohibited.