Additional remains have been found and the five missing Canadian military members from the helicopter crash that occurred off the coast of Greece on Wednesday, are now presumed dead, the Canadian military said on Friday.
Six military personnel were aboard the helicopter when it went down in the Mediterranean Sea as it was returning to the Halifax-based frigate, HMCS Fredericton.
At a news conference on Friday, Rear Adm. Craig Baines, Commander of Maritime Command Component, and Col. James Hawthorne, Commander of 12 Wing Shearwater, announced efforts have officially changed from a search and rescue operation to search and recovery.
“This decision was not taken lightly,” Baines said. “As I mentioned yesterday, the search was executed by multiple ships, including the Fredericton and Italian and Turkish allies. This was supported by helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft from Italy, Turkey, Greece and the United States, both during the day and at night.”
Baines said the units have “completely saturated” the area of the known crash location. “So we are certain that if there were survivors, we would have found them within the past 48 hours,” he added.
The body of Sub-Lt. Abbigail Cowbrough, was recovered yesterday. The other five members who were aboard the chopper are now “officially considered missing and presumed deceased,” Baines said.
Searchers recovered more remains, but are not yet able to identify them.
“Col. Hawthorne and I cannot begin to express the depth of our sadness that something like this has occurred to our shipmates. To the families, friends and loved ones of all six members who were on board the helicopter, we wish to express our deepest sympathies.”