The Canadian Department of National Defense has confirmed two Royal Canadian Air Force members who went missing in a helicopter crash have died.
A Chinook helicopter crashed into the Ottawa River with four people on board during an early morning training flight Tuesday.
Two survivors were found and taken to Pembroke Hospital with minor injuries, according to a news release Wednesday from the Defense Department. Both have since been released and are being monitored by Canadian Armed Forces medical personnel, the release said.
“I join all Canadians in mourning the loss of two Royal Canadian Air Force members from 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron,” Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand said. “These brave Canadian Armed Forces members served Canada with honour, dedication, and immeasurable courage. I extend my deepest condolences to their loved ones. I also send my prayers to the two members injured in the crash, who are now recovering. We are with you.”
About 110 Canadian Armed Forces members scoured the river and its banks for the two missing crew members, according to the Defense Department. An Ontario Provincial Police marine and dive unit and the Petawawa and Pembroke fire departments also helped, according to the release. The missing crew members’ bodies were found Tuesday evening, according to a news release.
“There are no words to describe a loss as tragic as this,” said Lieutenant-General Eric Kenny, Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force. “On behalf of the entire Air Force family … I offer our deepest condolences and support to the families, friends and loved ones of all those affected by this accident.”
The accident is now under investigation by the Royal Canadian Air Force’s Directorate of Flight Safety. “Further information about the accident itself will not be released to preserve the integrity of this independent investigation,” according to the Defense Department.