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One Canadian military member killed and five missing in helicopter accident

One Canadian military member killed and five missing in helicopter accident

Ottawa – One member of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) was killed on Wednesday April 29, 2020 and five other members remain missing following an accident involving a Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) CH-148 Cyclone helicopter.

Killed was Sub-Lieutenant Abbigail Cowbrough, a Marine Systems Engineering Officer, originally from Toronto, Ontario.

Confirmed missing are:

  • 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

HMCS Fredericton and NATO allies continue to search for the other five members of the helicopter’s crew.

The helicopter was deployed in the Mediterranean Sea with HMCS Fredericton as part of Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 under Operation REASSURANCE. At the time of the accident, the Canadian ship was conducting collaborative training with Italian and Turkish ships. The Cyclone was conducting concurrent flight operations.

The CAF are providing our members and their families with as much support as possible to include a wide range of resources to help them through this difficult time.

A RCAF Flight Safety team will depart Canada shortly to investigate the circumstances of the accident and will begin their work immediately upon arrival.

Starting from top left: Sub-Lieutenant Abbigail Cowbrough, a Marine Systems Engineering Officer; Sub-Lieutenant Matthew Pyke, Naval Warfare Officer; Master Corporal Matthew Cousins, Airborne Electronic Sensor Operator; Captain Maxime Miron-Morin, Air Combat Systems Officer; Captain Kevin Hagen, Pilot; Captain Brenden Ian MacDonald, Pilot.
National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces Photo

Quotes

“I was deeply saddened to learn yesterday of the tragic incident involving a Cyclone helicopter off the coast of Greece and the loss of our members of the Canadian Armed Forces. 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. 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.”

The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence

“This tragedy hits home especially hard, as I know it does for so many members of our wider Defence Team.  We join all Canadians to extend our deepest sympathies to the entire crew of the HMCS Fredericton, who served shoulder to shoulder with their lost teammate and we support those impacted during this truly difficult time.”

Jody Thomas, Deputy Minister of National Defence

“To their families, friends, and shipmates, our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. There are no words to describe the pain that you feel right now, nor are there any words that can ease it. Please know that the entire Canadian Armed Forces is with you.”

General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff

“Yesterday was a tragic day for our military family. I am profoundly saddened by this accident and I want to express my deepest sympathies to the family, friends and loved ones of our fallen member and the five who remain missing.”

Lieutenant General Mike Rouleau, Commander Canadian Joint Operations Command

Quick facts

  • A Flight Safety Investigation will be conducted to ensure our personnel can continue to have confidence in our equipment and procedures. One of the aims of the Flight Safety program is to investigate such occurrences with the objective of quickly identifying effective preventive measures that will either prevent or reduce the risk of similar occurrences in the future.
  • The CH-148 Cyclone was operating from HMCS Fredericton as part of the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2). The ship deployed from Halifax, N.S., on January 20, 2020 for a six-month deployment under Operation REASSURANCE.
  • HMCS Fredericton’s deployment is part of a range of military activities undertaken by the CAF to support NATO assurance and deterrence measures. These activities include the provision of military capabilities for training, exercises, demonstrations and assigned NATO tasks and demonstrate Canada’s commitment to promote security and stability in Central and Eastern Europe.

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