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Search and rescue operation finds wreckage of Canadian air force helicopter that crashed in the Ionian Sea with six people on board
Remains of a Canadian helicopter that was participating in a NATO surveillance mission, with six people on board , and that disappeared on Wednesday night, were found in the Ionian Sea between Greece and Italy, Greek military sources reported Thursday.
“The remains were found in the Italian control and intervention zone” in the Ionian Sea and “Greece sent a Navy helicopter to participate in rescue efforts,” these sources told AFP.
This search and rescue operation has been “coordinated by the Italian Maritime Rescue Center (MRCC),” the Greek general staff said in a statement. “At the request of the Italian authorities,” a helicopter “of the Greek Navy with four crew and a lifeguard” took off this Thursday at 06:30 local time (03:30 GMT), according to that text.
The NATO military command , based in Mons (Belgium), confirmed in a statement on Thursday “the accident of the Cyclone Sikorsky CH-148 helicopter”. “This helicopter, based on the Canadian frigate ‘Fredericton’, crashed while flying between Greece and Italy on April 29, 2020,” he said.
According to information provided by a Greek military source, the helicopter was outside the Greek control zone , “50 nautical miles off the coast of the Greek island of Kefalonia, in an area covered by Italy, and was part of an operation zone surveillance “in charge of the Atlantic Alliance.
In this surveillance operation, in addition to a Canadian frigate, Italian, Greek and Turkish ships participated, a source from the Greek Defense Ministry reported.
“A BODY WAS DISCOVERED”
Greek public television ERT assured that “a body was discovered” in the remains of the apparatus , “in international waters off the coast of the Greek island of Kefalonia,” information that was not confirmed by the Hellenic military.
NATO indicated that “details concerning the helicopter’s crew will be published in accordance with national procedures . ” As a general rule, each country reports on its citizens.
The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) announced that they have contacted “all the immediate family members of those who were aboard” the aircraft “involved in an accident in the Mediterranean Sea,” according to a message posted on Twitter on Thursday, in the that no eventual victims are mentioned.
On Wednesday, they explained that contact with the helicopter “was lost while participating in exercises with allied members near Greece,” in a message posted on Facebook and Twitter.
The frigate and the missing helicopter have been deployed since January 20 , according to the Canadian Defense Ministry website. The helicopter belonged to the SNMG2 Alliance naval forces, said a source from the Greek Defense Ministry.
Source: El Mundo