Canadian Armed Forces members recovered from Stalker 22 crash identified
June 20, 2020 – Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces
On June 18, 2020, the Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario identified the remains of four of the six Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members killed in the CH-148 Cyclone helicopter crash of April 29.
Remains of the following CAF members have been positively identified:
- Captain Kevin Hagen, Pilot, originally from Nanaimo, British Columbia
- Captain Maxime Miron-Morin, Air Combat Systems Officer, originally from Bécancour, Quebec
- Sub-Lieutenant Matthew Pyke, Naval Warfare Officer, originally from Truro, Nova Scotia
- Master Corporal Matthew Cousins, Airborne Electronic Sensor Operator, originally from Guelph, Ontario
Their remains were located and recovered during a combined CAF-United States Navy search and recovery operation conducted between May 25 and June 2. The families of all crew members lost in the accident have been notified.
Remains of Sub-Lieutenant Abbigail Cowbrough, a Marine Systems Engineering Officer originally from Toronto, Ontario, were previously identified shortly after the accident. Partial remains of Captain Brenden MacDonald, a Pilot originally from New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, were originally identified on May 9; no further remains were found in the recovery operations.
Over the coming days, our fallen who have now been positively identified, will be released to the families so they can be brought home. Ceremonial arrangements are being planned by the Royal Canadian Navy and Royal Canadian Air Force in consultation with the families, and will be communicated when available.
“On behalf of the entire extended Navy family, I continue to extend my deepest and most heartfelt sympathies to the families and loved ones of our six fallen shipmates. I hope today’s news provides some comfort and closure to each of you. These have been dark days and these events have reminded us all of the perils of service at sea and in the skies above. The memories of our fallen – who they were; their devotion to shipmates and obvious desire to serve their home communities and country, reflective of a commitment to making life better for those around them – endure in our collective memory. It resonates with those of us still serving – representative of who we are and why we’re forever connected to our fallen shipmates. To our extended (currently serving, veterans, and our families) Navy and Air Force families who have endured so much these past weeks, and especially the ship’s company of the still deployed HMCS Fredericton, know that your compassion, courage, and resilience as you carry on, support one another, and forever carry in your memory love for our fallen and their families is nothing short of inspirational – it defines us.”
Vice-Admiral Art McDonald, Commander, Royal Canadian Navy
“To the families of our fallen members of Stalker 22, our hearts are with you and the entire RCAF team continues to mourn with you. In this period of sadness, we hope you are comforted by the fond memories of your loved ones as well as the outpouring of love and support from Canadians across the country. Our Maritime Helicopter community is a tightly knit group who also forms a unique bond with our Navy partners. Together, we’ll honour and remember the legacies of our fallen, while also standing behind those who will pick up their torch and carry on with the mission. My sincerest thanks to everyone who has worked tirelessly to bring our aviators and sailors home to Canada in a dignified manner that reflects the professionalism with which they served.”
Lieutenant-General Al Meinzinger, Commander, Royal Canadian Air Force
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EDT Hercules and the recovered remains arrived in Augusta Bay, Italy, on June 4, 2020, following the successful CAF-US Navy search operation.
Prior to departure from Italy to return to Canada, a dignified transfer of remains was conducted, overseen by Lieutenant-General Omer Lavoie, senior CAF representative in Europe.
On arrival in Toronto on June 5, our fallen were welcomed back to Canada by Brigadier-General Conrad Mialkowski, Commander of Joint Task Force Central. Their remains were then transferred to the Coroner of Ontario for identification.
A Royal Canadian Air Force Flight Safety investigation into the circumstances of the accident is ongoing. As indicated in the investigators’ initial report, the investigation is currently focused on aircraft systems and human factors as possible causes of the crash.
On June 16th, the Commander of 1 Canadian Air Division, Lieutenant-General Alain Pelletier, lifted the operational pause on the CH-148 Cyclone maritime helicopter fleet. The return to flying operations follows a thorough risk assessment that outlined mitigation measures.
The CAF is providing our members and their families with as much support as possible, including a wide range of resources to help them through this difficult time.
Department of National Defence
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