One Canadian military member is dead and five others are missing after a helicopter serving with a NATO naval task force crashed in international waters between Greece and Italy, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed today, APA reports citing CBC News.
There were four Royal Canadian Air Force members and two Royal Canadian Navy members on board.
"All of them are heroes. Each of them will leave a void that cannot be filled," Trudeau said.
There will be many questions in the coming days about how the tragedy occurred, he said.
"I can assure you, we will get answers in due course."
Aircraft from Canada, Italy and Turkey are carrying out search operations looking for the CH-148 Cyclone helicopter with additional support from Greece and the U.S., NATO said in a short statement.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is holding a news conference with Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Jonathan Vance at 11:15 a.m. ET today. CBCNews.ca is carrying it live.
The helicopter was based on HMCS Fredericton, which had recently sailed from Souda, Greece, as part of a "mission of maritime situational awareness in the Mediterranean" including exercises with the Turkish Navy and Greece's Hellenic Navy and Air Force this past week, NATO said.
The Canadian Armed Forces said on Twitter it has contacted all primary family members of those who were on board.
NATO has not released details about the people on board.
CBC News has confirmed that Nova Scotia Sub-Lt. Abbigail Cowbrough is among the victims.
Cowbrough was a crew member of the CH-148 Cyclone helicopter that was a fixture of HMCS Fredericton, a vessel that was deployed from Dartmouth, N.S., in January to join the standing NATO naval group currently off the coast of Greece.