Garrison Petawawa – Two members of the 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron are missing and two others are in hospital with unknown injuries following the early morning crash of a CH-147 Chinook helicopter into the Ottawa River during a training mission Tuesday morning.
A Department of National Defence (DND) release said the crash took place at 12:10 a.m. and there were four personnel aboard the helicopter when it went down.
Emergency personnel located two of the crew, who were transported to hospital with unknown injuries, while the search continues for the two missing crewmen. The search efforts are being assisted by other air support from Petawawa and from 8 Wing from Trenton, as well as members of the Upper Ottawa Valley OPP and local firefighters.
Garrison Petawawa is the only Canadian base for the Chinooks, which are used to move both personnel and equipment.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke to the media Tuesday morning, after receiving an update from National Defence Minister Anita Anand.
“The search is ongoing for the two missing members and two members are in hospital right now,” he told reporters. “My thoughts go out to the entire Canadian Armed Forces, members of 450 Squadron, affected by this, and also the families of members who step up to serve their country.”
Renfrew County Warden Peter Emon also released a statement.
“My thoughts go out to the family, friends and colleagues of those involved in the tragic training accident with a CH-147F Chinook on the Ottawa River early this morning,” he said. “Prayers go out to all those who are affected by this tragedy. Members of Garrison Petawawa and the RCAF are our family members and we stand with them and offer our full support.”
Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke MP Cheryl Gallant addressed the House of Commons, saying, “as a representative of the close-knit military community at Garrison Petawawa, we all feel the effects whenever tragedy strikes any member of our military family.”
Military Police at the Garrison have closed access to Black Bear Beach Campsite and the Petawawa Yacht Club, which is believed to be the area where the chopper went down. DND has also requested that all boating in that area be halted immediately.
The Town of Petawawa has stopped drawing water from the Ottawa River for its treatment plant as a precautionary measure and residents are being urged to conserve water. Meanwhile, the City of Pembroke and Laurentian Valley also asked residents to conserve water.