June 8, 2020 – The Department of National Defence’s Airworthiness Investigative Authority has issued its From the Investigator (FTI) report in relation to the accident involving a Royal Canadian Air Force CH-148 Cyclone helicopter on Wednesday, 29 April 2020. The helicopter was deployed on HMCS Fredericton under Operation REASSURANCE when it crashed in the Ionian Sea. All six occupants of the helicopter were fatally injured.
The FTI report is a brief summary of the circumstances and factual information known at this time. It does not provide full details surrounding the accident, which is still under investigation.
At this point, the investigation has determined the aircraft was returning from a routine surface reconnaissance mission followed by additional training (flight deck evolutions) for aircrew proficiency prior to landing on HMCS Fredericton. The helicopter had flown by the port side of the ship, from stern to bow, before making a left hand turn to establish a downwind leg in preparation for approach to the ship. The aircraft then commenced a final left turn to set-up for the approach. During this final complex maneuvering turn to close with the ship, the aircraft did not respond as the crew would have anticipated. This event occurred at a low altitude, was unrecoverable, and the aircraft entered a high energy descent and impacted the water astern the ship.
The investigation is ongoing, and will focus on aircraft systems and human factors.