Two Royal Canadian Air Force crewmembers are missing and two have been hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries after a Chinook helicopter crashed in the Ottawa River near Garrison Petawawa at 12:10 am Tuesday morning. The Department of National Defence (DND) confirmed the CH-147 helicopter was on a training flight and carried four people. The DND has not identified the two missing crewmembers but confirms they were members of the 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron. Renfrew County Paramedics treated the two injured crewmembers on the scene before taking them to hospital in Pembroke.
Today’s search to recover the missing personnel involved Canadian Armed Forces members with air support out of Petawawa and 8 Wing Trenton, the Ontario Provincial Police Underwater Search and Rescue Unit, and fire fighters from both Petawawa and Pembroke. The DND has asked boaters to avoid the area near Black Bear Beach and Garrison Petawawa, because of “potentially hazardous materials from the aircraft” and to preserve the crash scene. The Town of Petawawa has temporarily stopped intake of water from the Ottawa River and has imposed an immediate outdoor watering ban until further notice. Pembroke and Laurentian Valley have also asked residents to limit their water usage.
Garrison Petawawa is home to the only CH-147F Chinook squadron in the RCAF. Chinook helicopters are used to transport troops and equipment and are also deployed to assist with medical evacuations and natural disasters in Canada. Training flights are common in the area.