The military announced in a press briefing on Wednesday that it has decided to conclude the recovery operation for a Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) CH-148 Cyclone following a crash that resulted in the deaths of six service members.
The recovery plan was led by a combined Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and United States navy (USN) team.
“After eight days over the crash site we achieved what we set out to accomplish – we located the helicopter, we have recovered some remains of our fallen and we have retrieved multiple pieces of the aircraft that will assist in the ongoing flight safety investigation,” Rear Admiral Craig Baines, commander of the Maritime Forces Atlantic, said in a statement.
The helicopter crashed into the Ionian Sea on April 29 within sight of the Halifax-class frigate HMCS Fredericton while participating in a NATO training mission.
The Armed Forces members who were on board were identified as Sub-Lt. Abbigail Cowbrough, Capt. Brenden Ian MacDonald, Capt. Kevin Hagen, Capt. Maxime Miron-Morin, Sub-Lt. Matthew Pyke and Master Cpl. Matthew Cousins.
Baines said that while the team was able to recover the remains of some of the fallen service members, they have not identified these remains and it is unknown at this time whether they have found everyone.
However, the remains have been taken to be identified and once that is complete, Baines said the identities of the remains will be released to the families and then the public.
In terms of next steps, Baines said the priority is to prepare the remains for transport back to Canada, which the CAF is expecting will happen as early as this weekend.
-With files from the Canadian Press