Five missing from RCAF helicopter crash presumed deceased

EAST HANTS: The search for five missing Cyclone helicopter crew members has transitioned into a search and recovery efforts, the Department of National Defence said in a release on May 1.

Sub-Lieutenant Matthew Pyke, a former volunteer firefighter from the Rawdon and Gore area, was among the five who are presumed to have died when the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) CH-148 Cyclone went down. It crashed into the Mediterranean Sea on Wednesday, April 29.

Pyke was a Naval Warfare Officer who is originally from Truro, Nova Scotia.

Sub-Lieutenant Matthew Pyke. (Royal Canadian Navy photo)

At this time, one member, Sub-Lieutenant Abbigail Cowbrough, a Marine Systems Engineering Officer, originally from Toronto, Ontario, has been confirmed deceased. She now called the Eastern Passage area home.

The other missing four members who were aboard the aircraft are now officially considered missing and presumed deceased:

  • Captain Brenden Ian MacDonald, Pilot, originally from New Glasgow, Nova Scotia
  • Captain Kevin Hagen, Pilot, originally from Nanaimo, British Columbia
  • Captain Maxime Miron-Morin, Air Combat Systems Officer, originally from Trois-Rivières, Québec
  • Master Corporal Matthew Cousins, Airborne Electronic Sensor Operator, originally from Guelph, Ontario

Additional remains have been discovered during the search, but cannot be identified at this time.

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) will be doing everything possible over the next several days to confirm known details with the families.

NATO Allies will be continuing recovery efforts at the scene as HMCS Fredericton departs for port in Italy. The ship is expected to arrive the morning of May 2, 2020, local time in Italy.

A RCAF Flight Safety team will depart Canada today to investigate the circumstances of the accident. They will begin their work immediately upon arrival.

The helicopter was deployed with HMCS Fredericton in the Mediterranean Sea as part of Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 under Operation REASSURANCE.

At the time of the accident, the Canadian ship was conducting collaborative training with Italian and Turkish ships. The Cyclone was conducting concurrent flight operations.