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Plans ‘well advanced’ to recover military helicopter in crash that killed 6: CAF chief

Click to play video: 'Gen. Vance says families of the victims will be the first to know once cause of deadly helicopter crash is known' Gen. Vance says families of the victims will be the first to know once cause of deadly helicopter crash is known
WATCH: Gen. Vance says families of the victims will be the first to know once cause of deadly helicopter crash is known – May 7, 2020

Plans to recover the Cyclone helicopter that crashed off the coast of Greece and killed six Canadian Armed Forces members will be released in the coming days, the military’s Chief of Defence Staff says.

READ MORE: HMCS Fredericton resumes NATO deployment after fatal helicopter crash

In a statement released Friday meant to provide an update on the status of the armed forces during the coronavirus pandemic, Gen. Jonathan Vance said that recovery operations for the Royal Canadian Air Force CH-148 Cyclone are “well advanced.”

“We are committed to making every effort to recover the aircraft and by doing so determine the cause of the accident,” Vance said.

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He added the CAF remains in close contact with the family and the crew of the HMCS Fredericton, who witnessed the fatal crash on April 29, and is continuing to provide support.

A flight-investigation team is studying the causes of the crash and is expected to present preliminary findings in the coming weeks, with a full report expected next year.

Click to play video: 'Sub-Lt. Abbigail Cowbrough’s remains returned to Nova Scotia' Sub-Lt. Abbigail Cowbrough’s remains returned to Nova Scotia
Sub-Lt. Abbigail Cowbrough’s remains returned to Nova Scotia – May 13, 2020

Only the remains of Sub-Lt. Abbigail Cowbrough and the partial remains of Capt. Brenden Ian MacDonald have been recovered from the crash site in the Ionian Sea off the west coast of Greece.

Four other crew members — pilot Capt. Kevin Hagen, Capt. Maxime Miron-Morin, Sub-Lt. Matthew Pyke and Master Corporal Matthew Cousins — are presumed dead.

READ MORE: Partial remains of Canadian Forces pilot killed in helicopter crash recovered

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The helicopter was returning from a training activity at the time of the crash. The aircraft was based on the Canadian Forces frigate HMCS Fredericton, which was deployed as part of a NATO mission called Operation Reassurance.

—With files from Kerri Breen and the Canadian Press

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