Canada to honor six killed in helicopter crash with COVID-19 measures in place

FILE PHOTO: Handout image shows a member of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) who was killed and 5 others missing after a Canadian military CH-148 Cyclone helicopter crashed in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Greece. (Top L-R) Sub-Lieutenant Matthew Pyke, Master Corporal Matthew Cousins, Sub-Lieutenant Abbigail Cowbrough, (Bottom L-R) Captain Kevin Hagen, Captain Maxime Miron-Morin, Captain Brenden Ian MacDonald. Handout image made available April 30, 2020. Canadian Armed Forces/Handout

Canada on Wednesday will honor six members of its armed forces killed last week in a helicopter crash with a ceremony and motorcade that will look much different from past tributes due to the coronavirus outbreak.

One body was recovered and five are missing and presumed dead after a military helicopter flying from the warship Fredericton crashed in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Greece a week ago during a training exercise.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and some family members and friends of the victims are going to attend a repatriation ceremony starting at 2:30 p.m. (1830 GMT) at a large military base in Trenton, Ontario.

Social distancing measures are expected to be observed during most of the ceremony, with the exception of the pallbearers carrying the coffin of Abbigail Cowbrough.

Afterward, Cowbrough’s casket will be taken to Toronto along Canada’s “Highway of Heroes,” where in the past throngs of people have gathered on overpasses and along the road to salute soldiers killed in the line of duty with flags and signs.

But due to bans on large gatherings because of the coronavirus, officials have asked people to stay home and observe the convoy on TV.

The Fredericton is participating in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s Operation Assurance, which is meant to bolster security in Central and Eastern Europe.

About 2,100 Canadian Armed Forces members are deployed around the world, including some 915 people in Operation Assurance.

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