OperationsRemembering

Search and Recovery Mission locates CAF Personnel and the CH-148 Cyclone Helicopter 

This morning, May 27, 2020, HMCS Fredericton Personnel and the CH-148 Cyclone helicopter that crashed off the coast of Greece were located.

“This is encouraging news. We do not leave our fallen behind, and recovering Stalker 22’s crew is of the utmost importance to all of us in the Canadian Armed Forces and the Department of National Defence. Retrieving the helicopter itself will also go a long way in helping us to understand what occurred on April 29. I commend the combined CAF-US Navy search team for their professionalism and singular devotion to this task, and my thoughts remain with the loved ones of our fallen comrades,” stated Lieutenant-General Mike Rouleau, Commander Canadian Joint Operations Command in a press release. 

On May 25, 2020 the CAF/USN team departed Souda Bay, Greece, onboard EDT Hercules. It is planned that within two days they will arrive at the site, approx 220 nautical miles east of Catania, Sicily, and begin the search & recovery of Stalker 22 and our fallen. Image courtesy of the Royal Canadian Air Force Facebook page.

The search is a joint effort between the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and the United States Navy (USN) search and recovery team. This morning they arrived at the CH-148 Cyclone crash site, which is located approximately 220 nautical miles east of Catania, Sicily.

“While early search efforts have been met with a degree of success, the operation is complex and may continue for some time before we are able to determine that all critical requirements have been met to cease recovery efforts. In cooperation with the RCAF, we will continue to keep the families and Canadians informed of the search results as it progresses in the days ahead,” Rear-Admiral Craig Baines, Commander Maritime Forces Atlantic noted in the press release. 

On May 25, 2020 the CAF/USN team departed Souda Bay, Greece, onboard EDT Hercules. It is planned that within two days they will arrive at the site, approx 220 nautical miles east of Catania, Sicily, and begin the search & recovery of Stalker 22 and our fallen. Image courtesy of the Royal Canadian Air Force Facebook page.

Using The REMORA III remotely-operated vehicle (ROV), then dove to a depth of 3143 meters and quickly located a large piece of the fuselage. 

Remains of the fallen CAF personnel were also found in the vicinity of the wreckage.

Canadian Armed Forces still missing: 

      • 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 press released noted, “Over the next hours and days, the recovery team will continue their search for both our fallen and additional pieces of the wreckage. We remain committed to staying on-site for as long as necessary.”

Stalker 22 crashed in the Ionia Sea on April 30, 2020. Six CAF personnel lost their lives in the crash. 

Sub-Lieutenant Abbigail Cowbrough’s body was found as were remains of Captain Brenden Ian MacDonald, Pilot.

The helicopter was deployed with HMCS Fredericton under Operation REASSURANCE as part of the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2). 

EDT Hercules departed Souda Bay, Greece, with a CAF-USN team to commence the at-sea search and recovery mission on May 25, 2020. 

The CAF is the primary partner in the search and recovery of the effort while working with the USN. 

The press release noted, “Investigations into this accident continue with a view to identify effective preventive measures that will either prevent or reduce the risk of similar occurrences in the future. There is currently no additional information available on the cause of the crash.” 

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