Officials have identified the partial remains of Capt. Brenden Ian MacDonald, the second victim to be found after last month’s military helicopter crash into the Mediterranean Sea.
The Department of National Defence says the Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario used DNA to identify the partial remains, which were recovered as part of the search that followed the April 29 Cyclone crash that claimed six lives.
“The CAF community expresses its deepest condolences to the families, friends, and colleagues of all our six members,” the release reads. “We hope that they can find some comfort in knowing that we are all grieving with them.”
The remains of Sub-Lt. Abbigail Cowbrough, 23, were previously found, identified and repatriated.
The other four Canadian Armed Forces members, Capt. Kevin Hagen, Capt. Maxime Miron-Morin, Sub-Lt. Matthew Pyke, and Master Cpl. Matthew Cousins, are missing and presumed dead.
MacDonald, a pilot, was originally from New Glasgow, N.S.
“Captain MacDonald’s family, and the families of the other crew members lost in the accident, have all been notified of this identification,” the statement reads.
A search for the rest of the remains is ongoing.
The crash, the cause of which remains under investigation, represents the largest loss of life in one day for the Canadian Armed Forces since six Canadian soldiers were killed in a roadside bombing in Afghanistan on Easter Sunday 2007.
The helicopter was deployed aboard HMCS Fredericton on a NATO mission patrolling the Mediterranean and Black seas. The military says it was returning to the ship after a training exercise when it crashed.
Military statements, and chief of the defence staff Gen. Jonathan Vance himself, first said the ship had “lost contact” with the helicopter, though the Forces later acknowledged that crew aboard the Fredericton saw it go down in deep water.
The helicopter’s flight-data and cockpit voice recorders were recovered and are back in Canada for analysis. The Defence Department says a team that includes social workers and military chaplains has been deployed to Italy to provide mental health support to Fredericton’s crew, who have been allowed to communicate with loved ones back home.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 10, 2020.
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