World Canadian helicopter missing in Ionian Sea, debris found

Canadian helicopter missing in Ionian Sea, debris found

A Canadian soldier on the frigate HMCS Fredericton, on which the missing helicopter was deployed. (photo from 2015) – DANIEL MIHAILESCU / AFP

Debris from a Canadian Forces helicopter engaged in a NATO surveillance operation, missing on Wednesday evening, was found in the Ionian Sea between Greece and Italy, we learned from a military source on Thursday. Greek. “Debris was found in the Italian control and intervention area” in the Ionian Sea and “Greece sent a navy helicopter to participate in the rescue operation,” said this source. to AFP.

Six people were on board the helicopter, the source said. According to Greek public television ERT, “a body was also discovered” with debris from a device “in international waters off the Greek island of Kefalonia”. But the Greek military source has not yet confirmed this information.

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) explained that contact with the helicopter, a CH-148 Cyclone deployed on board the frigate HMCS Fredericton, was “lost while participating in exercises with Allied members near Greece”, in a post on Facebook and Twitter. The frigate and the helicopter have been deployed since January 20, 2020 as part of Operation Reassurance, according to the Canadian Department of Defense website.

“50 nautical miles off the Greek island of Kefalonia”

Shortly before, the NATO military command established in Mons in Belgium had confirmed “the disappearance of a helicopter”, underlining that “search operations were in progress”. “I confirm that there was an incident involving a helicopter from a building that was under NATO command,” said Colonel Juanita Chang, quoted in an Atlantic Alliance statement sent to AFP. , without giving more details.

The building is part of the NATO naval forces SNMG2, according to a source from the Greek Ministry of Defense. According to initial information from Greek military sources, this aircraft was outside the Greek control zone, “50 nautical miles off the Greek island of Kefalonia, in the area covered by Italy, and participated in a surveillance operation of the area “by the Atlantic Alliance.

On Tuesday, the Atlantic Alliance surveillance operation took place in Greek waters and, in addition to the Canadian ship, Italian, Greek and Turkish frigates participated, said a source from the Greek Ministry of Defense. On Wednesday, NATO forces left Greek waters and the Greek frigate withdrew from the operation, staying in Greek territorial waters.

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