Search effort for five missing CAF personnel transitions to recovery mission

This afternoon the Canadian Armed Forces announced the search and rescue efforts for the five missing CAF personnel that went down in a CH-48 Cyclone helicopter officially transitioned into search and recovery efforts, following Wednesday’s tragic accident.

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

The body of Sub-Lieutenant Abbigail Cowbrough Systems Engineering Officer, originally from Toronto, Ontario, has been confirmed deceased.

A CH-148 Cyclone helicopter flies away from HMCS FREDERICTON during Operation REASSURANCE, March 13, 2020. Photo: Cpl Simon Arcand, Canadian Armed Forces.

According to the press release, “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.”

Today a RCAF Flight Safety team will depart Canada to investigate the circumstances of the accident and will begin their work immediately upon arrival.

The Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) has been searching for the crew of the helicopter. The press release noted NATO Allies would 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.

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.

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