One Dead, 5 Missing In Canadian Military Helicopter Crash Off Greek Coast

A Canadian military helicopter crashed during an allied exercise over the Ionian Sea late Wednesday, killing one serviceman and five others are missing. Searching is under way in cooperation with other countries.
01 May 2020 09:34
One Dead, 5 Missing In Canadian Military Helicopter Crash Off Greek Coast
People look at a helicopter from Canadian airforce at the annual Boundary Bay Airshow in Delta, Canada, July 21, 2018. (Xinhua/Liang Sen)

One Canadian military member was killed and five others are missing after their helicopter serving with NATO crashed in international waters between Greece and Italy, said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday.

“On behalf of all Canadians, I want to offer my deepest support to their families, their friends, their shipmates, and their fellow CAF members,” said Trudeau at a press conference in Ottawa Thursday noon with his Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and Chief of the Defence Staff Jonathan Vance.

The six people include four Royal Canadian Air Force members and two Royal Canadian Navy members. They were on a six-month deployment that began in January.

The Canadian CH-148 Cyclone lost contact during an allied exercise over the Ionian Sea on Wednesday, crashing in the sea about 80 kilometers off the Greek resort island of Cephalonia.

Trudeau said the Royal Canadian Navy helicopter was flying from Halifax-based Canadian naval frigate HMCS Fredericton as part of NATO’s Operation Reassurance.

The Canadian HMCS Fredericton frigate recently sailed from Souda, Greece, as part of a “mission of maritime situational awareness in the Mediterranean,” including exercises with the Turkish Navy and Greece’s Hellenic Navy and Air Force in the past week.

There will be many questions in the coming days about how the tragedy occurred, Trudeau said. “I can assure you, we will get answers in due course.”

Sajjan said efforts are under way to find the five missing members and the cause of the crash is unknown.

Vance said that crash’s debris area is large and the exact position of wreckage is not yet known. The voice and flight data recorders broke away from the helicopter and have been retrieved, he said.

Aircraft from Canada, Italy and Turkey, with support from Greece and the United States, are reportedly searching for the Canadian CH-148 Cyclone helicopter.

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