The search for five missing Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members who were aboard a helicopter that crashed while serving with a NATO naval task force is now a recovery operation.
A news release from the CAF Friday confirmed that the missing members are now presumed dead. It said additional remains have been discovered during the search, but they can’t 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,” the release said.
Four Royal Canadian Air Force members and two Royal Canadian Navy members were on board the CH-148 Cyclone when it crashed in international waters between Italy and Greece on Wednesday.
Sub-Lt. Abbigail Cowbrough, a marine systems engineering officer originally from Toronto, was confirmed dead Thursday.
Five crew members are still missing and are now presumed dead:
- Capt. Brenden MacDonald, a pilot originally from New Glasgow, Nova Scotia.
- Capt. Kevin Hagen, a pilot originally from Nanaimo, British Columbia.
- Capt. Maxime Miron-Morin, an air combat systems officer originally from Trois-Rivières, Québec.
- Sub-Lt. Matthew Pyke, a naval warfare officer originally from Truro, Nova Scotia.
- Master Cpl. Matthew Cousins, an airborne electronic sensor operator originally from Guelph, Ontario.
Ships from Canada, Italy and Turkey, with air support from Greece and the U.S., have been searching for survivors and debris from the crash since Wednesday.
The CAF release said NATO allies will continue recovery efforts at the scene as HMCS Fredericton departs for port in Italy.
The ship is expected to arrive Saturday morning local time.
A RCAF flight safety team is departing Canada today to investigate the crash.
“We extend our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of our fallen and we hope they take comfort in knowing that they are not grieving alone,” the release said.