Canadian Armed Forces response to the crash of Stalker 22
On April 29, 2020, six members of the Canadian Armed Forces were killed when a Royal Canadian Air Force CH-148 Cyclone helicopter crashed while conducting maritime surveillance operations. The helicopter was deployed with HMCS Fredericton under Operation REASSURANCE as part of the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2). At the time of the accident, the Canadian ship was conducting collaborative training with Italian and Turkish ships.
Since 2014, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have deployed a frigate on a persistent rotational basis to be employed for exercises and operational tasks in the NATO Maritime Command’s areas of responsibility.
Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Fredericton’s deployment is part of a range of military activities undertaken by the CAF under Operation REASSURANCE to support NATO assurance and deterrence measures aimed at reinforcing NATO’s collective defence and strengthening Allied solidarity. These activities include the provision of military capabilities for training, exercises, demonstrations, and assigned NATO tasks, reinforcing Canada’s commitment to promote security and stability in Central and Eastern Europe.
On April 29, 2020, six members of the CAF were killed when a Royal Canadian Air Force CH-148 Cyclone helicopter crashed while operating from HMCS Fredericton as part of Standing NATO Maritime Group 2. At the time of the accident, HMCS Fredericton and Stalker 22 were operating alongside Turkish and Italian Allies, conducting maritime surveillance operations and passing information between the ships and helicopter.
The following Canadian Armed Forces members were tragically killed in the crash:
- Captain Brenden MacDonald, Pilot, from New Glasgow, NS
- Captain Kevin Hagen, Pilot, from Nanaimo, BC
- Captain Maxime Miron-Morin, Air Combat Systems Officer, from Trois-Rivières, QC
- Master Corporal Matthew Cousins, Airborne Electronic Sensor Operator, from Guelph, ON
- Sub-Lieutenant Matthew Pyke, Naval Warfare Officer, from Truro, NS
- Sub-Lieutenant Abbigail Cowbrough, Marine Systems Engineering Officer, from Toronto, ON
The Recent fallen Canadians page honours the members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) who have recently lost their lives in the line of duty, in the service of our country.
- One Canadian military member killed and five missing in helicopter accident
- A joint statement from Commanders of the Royal Canadian Navy and Royal Canadian Air Force on the crash of a CH-148 Cyclone helicopter
- Statement by the Prime Minister on the loss of six Canadian Armed Forces members
- Search efforts transition to recovery mission following helicopter accident
In the early morning of May 27, 2020, a combined Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and United States Navy (USN) search and recovery team arrived at the CH-148 Cyclone crash site, which is approximately 220 nautical miles east of Catania, Sicily.
The REMORA III remotely-operated vehicle (ROV) then dove to a depth of 3143 meters and quickly located a large piece of the fuselage. Remains of our fallen CAF personnel were also found in the vicinity of the wreckage.
On June 3rd, 2020, following eight days at the crash site, the decision was made to conclude the recovery operation and return with the discovered remains and multiple pieces of the aircraft that will assist in the ongoing flight safety investigation.
- Partial remains of second crew member identified after CH-148 Cyclone accident
- Senior CAF Leaders Speak on Cyclone Incident, Search and Recovery Efforts
- HMCS Fredericton personnel and Stalker 22 located
- Statement from Rear-Admiral Craig Baines, Commander Maritime Forces Atlantic on the recovery operations of Stalker 22 in the Mediterranean Sea
- Canadian Armed Forces members recovered from Stalker 22 crash identified
CH-148 Cyclone replaced the CH-124 Sea King as Canada’s main ship-borne maritime helicopter, providing air support to the Royal Canadian Navy. This new fleet of aircraft is at the forefront of modern technology and one of the most capable maritime helicopters in the world.
Flight safety investigation
A Flight Safety Investigation into the accident is ongoing.
On June 8, 2020, the Royal Canadian Air Force Directorate of Flight Safety issued its ‘From the Investigator’ report that outlined a focus on aircraft systems and human factors for the continuing investigation.
Immediately-following the accident, the operational airworthiness authority ordered an operational pause on the CH-148 fleet. This pause was put in place as a safety precaution, and resulted in a temporary cessation of flying operations on the Cyclone in order to assess and mitigate potential risks associated with the operation of the aircraft.
On June 16, 2020, the Royal Canadian Air Force lifted the operational pause following a thorough risk assessment that outlined mitigation measures to ensure aircrews understand the conditions that led to the crash and how to avoid or resolve them.
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