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Photo Info
A CH-147F Chinook like the one pictured crashed into the Ottawa River near Garrison Petawawa on June 20, killing both pilots on board. Mike Reyno Photo

Canadian CH-147F Chinook crashed while executing turn shortly after clearing tree line: DND

By Vertical Mag | August 29, 2023

Estimated reading time 3 minutes, 51 seconds.

A CH-147F Chinook like the one pictured crashed into the Ottawa River near Garrison Petawawa on June 20, killing both pilots on board. Mike Reyno Photo
A CH-147F Chinook like the one pictured crashed into the Ottawa River near Garrison Petawawa on June 20, killing both pilots on board. Mike Reyno Photo

Canada’s Department of National Defence Airworthiness Investigative Authority has issued the preliminary report into a fatal CH-147F Chinook helicopter crash on the Ottawa River during a nighttime training flight on June 20, 2023.

Two pilots died in the incident: Capt David Domagala and Capt Marc Larouche.

The preliminary report does not indicate the cause of the incident, but provides a summary of factual information known at this time, according to a DND statement. Full details surrounding the incident are still under investigation.

At the time of the crash, two pilots and two flight engineers from 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron were aboard the aircraft, CH147310, conducting a scheduled two-hour training syllabus mission as part of the Tactical First Officer Course, per the DND report.

The crew, callsign Hammer 31, had taken off from Area 17 at Garrison Petawawa, a Canadian Forces base in eastern Ontario, shortly after midnight and were flying to a confined area known as T40, located four kilometers (2.5 miles) north-northeast of the base.

The helicopter turned left shortly after departure and cleared a tree line on the west shore of the Ottawa River, then descended to tactical altitudes as per the mission profile, the report found.

“While descending and still established in the left turn, the helicopter impacted the water with high energy at 00:10 [12:10 a.m.] local time,” the report said.

The helicopter was destroyed, but the two flight engineers successfully exited the aircraft and had only minor injuries.

Pilot Domagala of Woodstock, Ontario, served in the Canadian Army Reserve before becoming a pilot. He was posted to 450 Squadron in 2019. Pilot Larouche of Amos, Quebec, acquired a private pilot’s license before joining the RCAF. He received his wings in 1993 and flew the CH-135 Twin Huey, CH-146 Griffon, and CH-147F Chinook, serving on domestic and international operations.

The CH-147F and its flight recorders were recovered from the Ottawa River on July 13 following a challenging operation that involved contracted companies with cranes and other equipment to lift the helicopter from the water, while also containing possible spilled fluids such as fuel and lubricants.

Investigators said they are focusing on human, technical and environmental factors related to the incident. DND did not provide a timeline for completion of the investigation and its final report.

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