The Canadian Armed Forces has ended a mission to retrieve the wreckage of Stalker 22, a Cyclone helicopter that went down off the coast of Greece in April with six military members on board.
The decision to halt the effort was announced Wednesday by Maritime Component commander Rear Admiral Craig Baines, who said the remains of some of those lost in the crash had been recovered, along with “any of the important pieces … that were necessary for the investigation.”
The effort required the use of a U.S. Navy drone launched from a civilian supply ship, and was wrapped up after eight days of operations in the Ionian Sea.
The remains of Sub-Lt. Abbigail Cowbrough and partial remains of Capt. Brenden Ian MacDonald were recovered shortly after the Cyclone crashed within sight of the Halifax-class frigate HMCS Fredericton while returning from a NATO training mission on April 29.
The other four Canadian Armed Forces members on board — Capt. Kevin Hagen, Capt. Maxime Miron-Morin, Sub-Lt. Matthew Pyke, and Master Cpl. Matthew Cousins — are presumed dead.
The crash caused the worst loss of life in one day for the Canadian Armed Forces since six Canadian soldiers were killed in a roadside bombing in Afghanistan on Easter Sunday 2007.
“While we were able to recover remains of some of our fallen, it is important to note that we have not identified these remains and it is unknown at this time whether we have found everyone,” Baines said during a news conference in Halifax.
The recovered remains are expected to be returned to Canada over the weekend and taken to Toronto for forensic identification.