A tragic loss and a deep sadness ensues the Royal Canadian Navy and the entire military family. I can barely imagine the deep loss for their family members. My heart sank when I heard and read about this tragedy in the news last night and this morning. My thoughts and prayers go out for the military members and their families. May God be with you all.
I am still processing this loss. A scripture on the facebook page of SLt A. Cowbrough reads, “If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” Romans 8:31. Reading this on her fb provided some encouragement for me personally. God will always be for us. No death can can ever deter us from standing on guard for thee.
Below are what is already public knowledge from the news media.
1. Four aviators onboard CH-148, along with two sailors from HMCS Fredericton, crashed off the coast of Greece. The helo was doing a routine training exercise yesterday afternoon when it crashed.
2. Facts known. Search and rescue is underway to find the remaining five crew members. Reports say that scattered debris have been found and might be difficult to locate those who are still missing. The flight voice and data recorders have been found. Operational pause in the navy is in place until the military knows more about why it happened.
3. Reason for ship/helo’s presence in the area. The ship and helicopter are a part of a NATO mission Operation REASSURANCE. Rear-Admiral Baines (CO, Maritime Atlantic) announced in the news that the helicopter was returning to the ship when it lost contact and crashed.
4. The helicopter was a brand new Sikorsky-built, CH-148 Cyclone. It is designed and fitted for Halifax-class Canadian frigates. As part of a procurement for the Canadian Armed Forces, these Cyclone helicopters are brand new. They were delivered to the Canadian military and have been deployed on board some of the frigates within the last 1.5 years.
Photos above are the six members onboard the helicopter.
Sub-Lieutenant Abbigail Cowbrough (deceased)
Sub-Lieutenant Matthew Pyke (missing)
Master Corporal Matthew Cousins (missing)
Captain Brenden Ian MacDonald (missing)
Captain Kevin Hagen (missing)
Captain Maxime Miron-Morin (missing)