The 2014 built offshore supply vessel EDT HERCULES carrying a combined Canadian and American military recovery team departed Souda Bay, Crete on a mission to retrieve the wreckage of a downed CH-148 Cyclone helicopter.
In a statement issued Monday 25th May, the Department of National Defence in Canada said that the vessel EDT HERCULES is expected to take two days to arrive at the crash site, which is about 22 nautical miles east of Catania, Italy in the Ionian Sea. The search will begin within 24 hours of the arrival of the vessel on site.
The CH 148 Cyclone helicopter with call sign Stalker 22 was returning from a routine surveillance training mission on 29th April when it crashed into the ocean within sight of HMCS FREDERICTON FFH 337 of which it was embarked on during her SNMG 2 deployement.
HMCS FREDERICHTON FFH 337 leaving Catania, Sicily on Monday 24th February, 2020.
Six military members – four flight crew and two sailors died in the accident. The body of Sub Lt. Abbigail Cowbrough was recovered almost immediately after the crash and the partial remains of one of the Cyclone’s pilots, Capt. Brenden Ian MacDonald, also was retrieved from the crash scene. The remaining members aboard were lost and never found.
Retrieving the wreckage from around 3,000 metres of water is going to be a difficult and complicated task. Aboard the vessel is a American remotely-operated submersible which is capable of diving in deep waters. The frigate crew was able to plot the location where the aircraft went down, but defence officials cautioned during the technical briefing that the seabed and underwater currents may have shifted it since the accident.
All images of EDT HERCULES entering Grand Harbour, Malta back to 11th October, 2016.
Read more regarding the helicopter crash – https://maltashipnews.com/2020/05/02/naval-news-body-found-after-nato-helicopter-crash-in-mediterranean-01-05-2020/
Watermarked Photos by Capt. Lawrence Dalli. Do not use these images without my permission. © All rights reserved. Malta Ship Photos & Action Photos – www.maltashipphotos.com
Published – Saturday 30th May, 2020