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RCAF Helicopter Lost at Sea

An RCAF Cyclone helicopter has been reported missing and Canada says search and rescue operations have begun.

The helicopter, with six people onboard, went missing while operating out of the Royal Canadian Navy’s Halifax-class frigate HMCS Fredericton which is participating in NATO’s Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 naval task force in the Mediterranean Sea.

Greek news outlets reported that the Cyclone helicopter crashed into the sea off the coast of Greece on Wednesday.

The Canadian Forces posted a tweet stating that there was a “developing situation regarding our CH-148 Cyclone, deployed onboard HMCS Fredericton.”

“Contact was lost with the aircraft as it was participating in Allied exercises off the coast of Greece,” it added.

NATO also confirmed that it has launched a search and rescue operation for the helicopter crew and passengers.

The military’s 18 Cyclone helicopters carry four-person crews and first began flying missions in late 2018. The helicopter is primarily used to conduct anti-submarine warfare (ASW), surveillance, and search and rescue missions from Royal Canadian Navy warships.

In a press conference on Thursday morning Defence Minister, Harjit Sajjan, made the follwing statements:  

The cause of the accident is still unknown.
The death of one RCN member has been confirmed.
The Cockpit flight recorder has been recovered and will be brought to the national research center in Canada for analyisis. 

Gen. Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff, also confirmed that HMCS Fredericton had just completed its 100th day at sea and was due back in Canada in July. There are 240 RCN crew members on board.

Vance also confirmed that the Cyclone fleet has now been put on operational pause.  

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