Missing Canadian Forces members in fatal helicopter crash identified

Apr 30 2020, 1:29 pm

The five members missing in the fatal NATO helicopter crash off the coast of Greece on Wednesday have been identified by the Canadian Armed Forces.

On Thursday, the military confirmed that 23-year-old Sub-Lieutenant Abbigail Cowbrough, a Maritime Systems Engineering Officer originally from Toronto, was killed in the crash.

There were six members on board the CH-148 Cyclone helicopter.

The other confirmed missing members include:

  • 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

According to the military, the “HMCS Fredericton and NATO allies continue to search for the other five members of the helicopter’s crew.”

The Minister of Defense said he was “deeply saddened” to learn of the “tragic incident” involving a cyclone helicopter off the coast of Greece.

“I wish to express my deepest condolences to their families, friends, and colleagues. Search and rescue efforts are ongoing with our NATO Allies for the five missing members and all available resources are being dedicated to this effort,” Harjit Sajjan said in a statement.

“This accident is a painful reminder of the dangers that members of Canada’s military face every day to ensure the safety and security of Canadians.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Canadian Armed Forces Operations confirmed that they lost contact with the CH-148 Cyclone helicopter that had been deployed on the HMCS Fredericton for Operation Reassurance.

Sajjan said the helicopter went missing during NATO exercises off the coast of Greece.

“The cause of this accident is unknown at this time,” said Sajjan during a press conference on Wednesday, adding that flight data has been recovered.

Ships, aircraft, and helicopters are involved in the search.

Chief of the Defence Staff General Jonathan Vance said that at 6:52 pm the Canadian Cyclone helicopter was conducting basic training serials alongside Turkish and Italian aircraft. A few minutes later, flares were seen in the water.

A support team is now en route to help with logistics during the search mission.