The crash of an RCAF CH-148 Cyclone helicopter that killed six Canadian Forces crew members was witnessed by dozens of their shipmates aboard HMCS Fredericton. The aircraft was minutes from landing on the rear deck of the warship and personnel were preparing for its recovery when the helicopter, which was less than two kilometres from the ship, suddenly plunged into the Ionian Sea. The ship and its five-year-old Cyclone, one of the first delivered to the RCAF, were taking part in NATO’s Operation Reassurance off the coast of Greece.
The crew will provide key information to investigators. “As part of their investigation, the Flight Safety investigation team will conduct interviews with these eyewitnesses,” Canadian Forces spokesman Dan LeBouthillier told the CBC. Plans are now being made to recover the wreckage of the helicopter but that’s going to be a challenge as it is lying in deep water. The Fredericton is now docked in Italy as the investigation begins. Human remains and one body were repatriated in a ceremony at CFB Trenton earlier this week.