U.S. Navy, Canadian Navy Complete Search for Crashed Helicopter

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Canadian and American forces have ended the search and recovery mission for the wreckage of the Canadian Navy Cyclone helicopter that crashed off Greece in April. Six lives were lost in the accident, making it one of the worst casualties involving Canada’s armed forces in recent memory. 

The crash occurred in 3,100 meters of water, and the Canadian Navy reached out to the U.S. Navy for assistance in retrieving evidence from the bottom. An American ROV was deployed aboard a commercial offshore supply ship to investigate the site, and after an eight-day search, the team achieved its objectives.

On Wednesday, response commander Rear Adm. Craig Baines (RCN) said that the search had retrieved all of the aircraft components that were necessary for the investigation. The search team found that the helicopter’s cabin had disintegrated in the crash, and only a few large structural components were intact and identifiable. A decision was made to leave nonessential components on the bottom. 

Partial remains of several unidentified individuals were also recovered from the 60,000 square meter debris zone. Four out of six victims have not yet been accounted for and are presumed dead. 

“While we were able to recover remains of some of our fallen, it is important to note that we have not identified these remains and it is unknown at this time whether we have found everyone,” said Rear Adm. Baines at a press conference. All of the unidentified remains will be repatriated to Canada for analysis by forensic investigators. 

An inquiry into the cause of the crash continues, and it is not expected to produce results for some weeks. In the meantime, the Canadian Navy’s relatively new fleet of Cyclone helicopters has been grounded as a precautionary measure. 

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