MONS, Belgium - The U.S. Navy is assisting the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) with search and recovery efforts in the Ionian Sea for remnants of a Canadian CH-148 Cyclone helicopter, which crashed in the region in April.
The U.S. Navy, with the use of a deep sea salvage remotely operated vehicle, quickly located the wreckage. Remains of CAF personnel were also found in the vicinity.
We do not leave our fallen behind
"This is encouraging news. We do not leave our fallen behind, and recovering Stalker 22's crew is of the utmost importance to all of us in the Canadian Armed Forces and the Department of National Defence," said Lieutenant-General Mike Rouleau, Commander of the Canadian Joint Operations Command. "Retrieving the helicopter itself will also go a long way in helping us to understand what occurred on April 29. I commend the combined CAF-U.S. Navy search team for their professionalism and singular devotion to this task, and my thoughts remain with the loved ones of our fallen comrades."
A combined Canadian Armed Forces and United States Navy search and recovery team prepares equipment onboard EDT Hercules, prior to departing Souda Bay, Greece to search for the CAF personnel and aircraft lost while conducting maritime surveillance operations in the Ionian Sea. _ Photo by Commander Robert Watt
Teams will continue recovery of CAF personnel and additional pieces of the wreckage in the coming days and remain committed to staying on site as long as necessary. The collaboration of the two Allied forces demonstrates not only the continued commitment to support the families of the fallen, but shows the determination of nations to help one another, especially in this time of mourning, and amidst of the ongoing global crisis.
The operation is complex and may continue for some time
Canada's National Research Council is currently analysing the Cyclone's flight-data and voice recorders for insight into the crash. The recorders were recovered after ejecting from the helicopter when it hit the water.
"While early search efforts have been met with a degree of success, the operation is complex and may continue for some time before we are able to determine that all critical requirements have been met to cease recovery efforts," said Rear-Admiral Craig Baines of the Royal Canadian Navy and Commander Maritime Forces Atlantic. "In cooperation with the Canadian Armed Forces, we will continue to keep the families and Canadians informed of the search results as it progresses in the days ahead."
The helicopter, known as Stalker 22, crashed into the sea off the coast of Greece on April 29 within sight of the Canadian frigate HMCS Fredericton while exercising with NATO's Standing Maritime Group 2. The remains of two military personnel on board were recovered, while four others are missing and presumed dead.