Search for missing Royal Canadian Air Force members involved in helicopter crash near Petawawa concludes

News release

June 21, 2023 – Winnipeg – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

The two missing air crew members from the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) CH-147F Chinook that crashed in the Ottawa River in the early hours of Tuesday June 20, were found last evening. Tragically, neither member survived. The names of the deceased individuals are not being released at the request of their families.

The two members were amongst a total crew of four who were on the 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron aircraft at the time of the accident. The other two members of the crew were found by Garrison Petawawa firefighters earlier and taken to hospital in Pembroke with minor injuries shortly after the crash. Both have since been released and are being monitored by Canadian Armed Forces medical personnel. The full range of support is being provided to the families of the two deceased members, the two surviving air crew members and their families, and to the members of 450 Squadron and Garrison Petawawa at this difficult time.

The RCAF’s Directorate of Flight Safety is conducting an investigation into the accident to determine the cause. 


“I join all Canadians in mourning the loss of two Royal Canadian Air Force members from 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron. These brave Canadian Armed Forces members served Canada with honour, dedication, and immeasurable courage. I extend my deepest condolences to their loved ones. I also send my prayers to the two members injured in the crash, who are now recovering. We are with you.”

The Honorable Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence

“It is with profound sadness that we mourn the loss of these two members. They served with honour, proudly devoting their lives to Canada with tremendous professionalism and selfless service. Their loss is devastating, and we stand in grief with their families, friends, and teammates during this time of great sorrow. Our thoughts and prayers are also with our members who were injured in this tragic accident, and we wish them a quick recovery. On behalf of all members of the armed forces, the Canadian Armed Forces Chief Warrant Officer and I offer our deepest condolences to the loved ones of our fallen.”

General Wayne Eyre, Chief of the Defence Staff

“The hearts of Royal Canadian Air Force members are heavy with the news from Garrison Petawawa about the loss of two members from 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron.  There are no words to describe a loss as tragic as this. On behalf of the entire Air Force family, Chief Warrant Officer Hall and I offer our deepest condolences and support to the families, friends and loved ones of all those affected by this accident.”

Lieutenant-General Eric Kenny, Commander, Royal Canadian Air Force

“It is an extremely sad time for all Canadians with the loss of these two members. I want to thank all those who helped in the first response to the accident as well as the search efforts, including members of 450 Squadron. This tragedy serves as a difficult reminder of the risk that members of the Royal Canadian Air Force face daily while training to respond to missions at home and abroad. We mourn the loss of these two members, and our thoughts are with their families and squadron mates.”

Major-General Iain Huddleston, Commander, 1 Canadian Air Division / Canadian NORAD Region / Joint Force Air Component / Search and Rescue Region Trenton

Quick facts

  • The search was supported by approximately 110 Canadian Armed Forces members on the shore and on the water; including divers from 2 Combat Engineer Regiment, as well as CC-130J Hercules and CH-146 Griffon aircraft from 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron, and 427 Special Operations Aviation Squadron. An Ontario Provincial Police marine and dive unit, and Petawawa and Pembroke fire departments, also supported search efforts. 

  • The accident is now the subject of an investigation by the RCAF’s Directorate of Flight Safety. Further information about the accident itself will not be released to preserve the integrity of this independent investigation.

  • Boaters and the public are being asked to remain off the Ottawa River and away from the shoreline on the operational side of Garrison Petawawa, to allow for the ongoing environmental containment and clean-up efforts and to preserve the integrity of the incident location for the Flight Safety Investigation.


Media Relations
Department of National Defence
Phone: 613-904-3333

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