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1 dead, 5 missing after military helicopter crash off Greece, Trudeau says

Last Updated Apr 30, 2020 at 12:46 pm PDT

Summary

Feds have confirmed six members of Canada's Armed Forces were aboard a helicopter that went down in Greece on Wednesday

One body has been recovered; five people are still missing

Canada's defence minister says the helicopter was performing a NATO training exercise when it went down

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says six members of our Armed Forces were aboard the helicopter that crashed off Greece during a training exercise on Wednesday.

One body, which has been identified as Sub-Lieutenant Abbigail Cowbrough of Nova Scotia, has been recovered, but five other people are still missing.

They’ve been identified as Captain Kevin Hagen a pilot originally from Nanaimo, Captain Brenden Ian MacDonald, a pilot originally from Glasgow, Nova Scotia, Captain Maxime Miron-Morin an Air Combat Systems Officer originally from Trois-Rivières, Québec, Sub-Lieutenant Matthew Pyke, a Naval Weapons Officer originally from Truro, Nova Scotia, and Master Corporal Matthew Cousins, an Airborne Electronic Sensor Operator originally from Guelph, Ontario.

On Thursday, Trudeau highlighted the work Canada’s Armed Forces do to protect Canadians at home and abroad. He noted at this time of grief, our military is also helping fight COVID-19 by assisting in long term care facilities in provinces like Ontario and Quebec.

The Cyclone helicopter the six Armed Forces members were on went down in the Mediterranean sea during a NATO exercise on Wednesday

There’s still no word on what caused the helicopter to go down, but Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has confirmed the data recorders have been recovered.

The helicopter was deployed with the Halifax-class frigate HMCS Fredericton as part of a NATO maritime force in the Mediterranean.

Chief of the Defence Staff General Jonathan Vance said Thursday the aircraft had been performing basic exercises and was returning to the ship when at 6:52 p.m. local time, contact was lost. A few minutes later, he explained, flares were spotted in the water.

He said the flight recorders will be brought back to Canada for examination, and that the military would be sending an investigative team to the scene of the crash.

While he said he didn’t have any concern about the military’s current fleet of Cyclone helicopters, Sajjan said there is now an operational pause in place to ensure there are no obvious issues with the aircraft.

At this time, Sajjan added there’s no indication the crash was caused by contact or a shoot down.