Tag Archives: missing

British police officer’s arrest for missing woman Sarah Everard’s death stuns public, politicians

Britain’s most senior police officer has sought to reassure women it is safe to walk the streets of London at night after one of her officers was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and murdering a 33-year-old woman.

Sarah Everard’s disappearance and the announcement that human remains had been found prompted women to flood social media with posts about the steps they take to keep safe when out alone at night, including clutching keys to use as a weapon and wearing running shoes in case they need to escape.

Others detailed a catalogue of incidents of harassment by men in public over the decades since they were schoolgirls.
“These are so powerful because each and every woman can relate,” Home Secretary Priti Patel said. “Every woman should feel safe to walk on our streets without fear of harassment or violence.”

Everard was last seen at 9:30 p.m. on March 3 as she walked home from a friend’s house in south London. Her image, smiling at the camera or caught on CCTV that evening, has been splashed across British newspapers all week.

‘Women aren’t safe on our streets’

An officer, a man in his 40s whose job it was to guard diplomatic buildings, has been arrested on suspicion of murder, kidnap and indecent exposure, while a woman in her 30s was also detained on suspicion of assisting an offender.

“The disappearance of Sarah and the absolute tragedy around that has really touched a nerve with a lot of women,” said Anna Birley, 31, one of the organizers of a planned Reclaim These Streets vigil to honour Everard and demand change.

“We feel really angry that it’s an expectation put on women that we need to change our behaviour to stay safe. The problem isn’t women, the problem is that women aren’t safe on our streets,” said Birley.

A forensic officer leaves a house in Deal, U.K., in connection with the Everard investigation on Wednesday. (Steve Parsons/PA/The Associated Press)

The London police force has said the officer, who works for the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, had not been on duty the night Everard disappeared. Multiple reports from British news outlets indicate his most recent shift before that was at the U.S. embassy.

Cressida Dick, the head of London’s police force, said she and her colleagues were “utterly appalled” at news a serving officer had been arrested, saying it had sent waves of “shock and anger” through the public and the police.

“I know Londoners will want to know that it is thankfully incredibly rare for a woman to be abducted from our streets,” she said.

“But I completely understand that despite this, women in London and the wider public, particularly those in the area where Sarah went missing, will be worried and may well be feeling scared.”

Reaction from a Labour MP:

Police continued to question the officer on Thursday. A woman in her 30s, who media reported was the officer’s wife, was also detained on suspicion of assisting an offender, but has since been released on bail.

England’s police watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct, said it had launched an investigation into the London police force’s handling of the case.

The officer who was arrested was reported to police on Feb. 28 over allegations of indecent exposure in a south London fast food restaurant, several days before Everard disappeared.

Although the remains have not yet been formally identified, Everard’s family released a statement, saying their “beautiful daughter Sarah was taken from us and we are appealing for any information that will help to solve this terrible crime.”

“Sarah was bright and beautiful — a wonderful daughter and sister. She was kind and thoughtful, caring and dependable,” the family said.

Vigil planned for Saturday

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday he was shocked and deeply saddened by the developments.

“The message that needs to be sent is that male violence is something that has to be tackled and challenged and the justice system and society has to wake up to that,” said Jess Phillips, the opposition Labour Party’s spokesperson on domestic violence.

“At the moment we just simply don’t take it seriously as we take other crimes.”

Phillips on Thursday read out in the chamber of the House of Commons the names of 118 women killed in the United Kingdom last year in cases in which a man has been charged or convicted. It took her more than four minutes to read the list.

The hashtags #saraheverard and #TooManyMen trended online as women relayed their experiences, prompting men to ask what they should do differently, such as not walking closely behind a woman on her own.

Some pointed out online the concerning drop in prosecutions of sexual assault, though it’s not clear if it is specifically applicable to the Everard case.

Only 1.5 per cent of 57,516 rape cases recorded in England and Wales led to a charge in the year up to September 2020, official data showed last month, with 42 per cent of cases failing due to evidential difficulties, such as victims not supporting further action.

Rape prosecutions hit a record low of 2,102 in 2019-2020, down about 30 per cent year on year, while convictions fell by 25 per cent to 1,439, according to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Amid warnings the system is failing survivors, the CPS has set out a five-year blueprint to ensure sex offenders are brought to justice, including improving communications with victims and working with police to strengthen cases.

The Reclaim The Streets vigil is set to be held Saturday night at Clapham Common, near the place where Everard was
last seen.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

CBC | World News

Indonesian navy says location of missing plane carrying 62 has been found

The Indonesian navy has determined the co-ordinates of a Sriwijaya Air plane carrying 62 people that went missing Saturday after taking off from the capital of Jakarta, navy official Abdul Rasyid said.

“The co-ordinates have been found and have been given to all Navy vessels in the area,” he told reporters.

The passenger jet lost contact with air traffic controllers just minutes after taking off from Indonesia’s capital on a domestic flight, the transportation minister said.

Budi Karya Sumadi said Flight SJ182 was delayed for an hour before it took off at 2:36 p.m. The Boeing 737-500 disappeared from radar four minutes later, after the pilot contacted air traffic control to ascend to an altitude of 29,000 feet (8,839 meters), he said.

56 passengers, 6 crew members

Boeing released a two-line statement saying it was aware of media reports from Jakarta and was gathering more information.

A statement released by the airline said the plane was on an estimated 90-minute flight from Jakarta to Pontianak, the capital of West Kalimantan province on Indonesia’s Borneo island. There were 56 passengers and six crew members onboard.

Irawati said in a statement that a search and rescue operation was underway in co-ordination with the National Search and Rescue Agency and the National Transportation Safety Committee.

Local media reports said fishermen spotted metal objects believed to be parts of a plane on Saturday afternoon in the Thousand Islands, a chain of islands north of Jakarta.

This radar image shows the flight path of Indonesian Sriwijaya Air Flight 182 before it dropped off radar on Saturday. (Flightradar24.com via AP)

Television footage showed relatives and friends of people aboard the plane weeping, praying and hugging each other as they waited at Jakarta’s airport and Pontianak’s airport.

Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago nation, with more than 260 million people, has been plagued by transportation accidents on land, sea and air because of overcrowding on ferries, aging infrastructure and poorly enforced safety standards.

In October 2018, a Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet operated by Lion Air plunged into the Java Sea just minutes after taking off from Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board. It was the worst airline disaster in Indonesia since 1997, when 234 people were killed on a Garuda flight near Medan on Sumatra island. In December 2014, an AirAsia flight from Surabaya to Singapore plunged into the sea, killing 162 people.

Sriwijaya Air is one of Indonesia’s discount carriers, flying to dozens of domestic and international destinations.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

CBC | World News

Meteorite Fragment Points to Missing Dwarf Planet in Early Solar System

This site may earn affiliate commissions from the links on this page. Terms of use.

Every asteroid that falls to Earth is a potential window into the origins of the solar system, but scientists have stumbled upon something quite strange when studying a fragment of the Almahata Sitta asteroid. It contains evidence of a huge, previously unknown object in our solar system — perhaps a long since destroyed dwarf planet. 

The Almahata Sitta asteroid collection consists of about 600 fragments, all of which rained down on Sudan in 2008 when the space rock known as 2008 TC3 exploded. This was the first-ever asteroid impact correctly predicted by scientists, giving teams on the ground the chance to swoop in and collect a great deal of material from the 4-meter (13-foot) object. 

Planetary geologist Vicky Hamilton led a new analysis of the Almahata Sitta material at the Southwest Research Institute. Hamilton’s team received a 50-milligram sample of the asteroid (AhS 202) for testing. They mounted and polished the tiny shard and used an infrared microscope to examine its composition. Inside AhS 202, the team found something unexpected — an extraordinary rare hydrated crystal known as an amphibole. This simply should not have been part of 2008 TC3. 

These silicate crystals only form from prolonged exposure to high pressure and temperatures, which would never happen in a space rock like 2008 TC3 or other similarly sized carbonaceous chondrite meteorites. According to the study, the only conclusion that fits with what we know about amphiboles is that 2008 TC3 was once part of a much larger object. Researchers estimate the parent body was about as large as the dwarf planet Ceres, which measures 939 kilometers (583 miles) in diameter. 

Micrograph showing amphibole crystals, in orange.

Obviously, we haven’t lost track of any planet-sized rocks drifting around the inner solar system. It’s theoretically possible there is still an undiscovered Ceres-sized asteroid in the outer solar system that spawned 2008 TC3, but that’s an outside chance. The researchers believe it more likely the parent body has long since crumbled into debris. And if that happened once, it might have happened numerous times. 

The study concludes that the Almahata Sitta fragments could provide a glimpse of a previously unknown phase in the formation of our solar system. This mysterious dwarf planet existed long enough to leave its geological mark, and then it went to pieces for some reason. That’s something we probably want to understand better.

Now read:

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

ExtremeTechExtreme – ExtremeTech

2 killed, 24 missing in severe floods in Italy and France

Flooding from record rains in the mountainous region that spans France and Italy killed two people in Italy and left at least 24 people in the two countries missing Saturday.

A storm that moved overnight across southeastern France and then northern Italy caused major flooding on both sides of the border, destroying bridges, blocking roads and isolating communities.

In Italy, a firefighter was killed during a rescue operation in the mountainous northern region of Val d’Aosta. Another body was found in Vercelli province, near where a man had been swept away by flood waters late Friday.

A total of 16 people were reported missing in Italy, all but one travelers in cars on the Col de Tende high mountain pass between France and Italy, according to civil protection authorities.

They include two people from Germany driving with their 11-year-old and six-year-old grandchildren, and a pair of brothers returning from France.

A building collapses into the river Cervo in Limone Piemonte, Italy, on Saturday. (Vigili del Fuoco/Handout via Reuters)

The spokesperson for Italy’s firefighters said a search was ongoing for a missing shepherd who was pulled into flood waters on Col de Tende. His brother managed to grab onto a tree and was saved, while authorities were searching on the French side for the shepherd.

Firefighter spokesperson Luca Cari said he suspects the other people reported missing in Italy have lost phone contact, but at the moment they are not thought to be in imminent danger.

The situation at the tunnel on the high mountain pass is complicated by the fact that French emergency responders cannot access their side due to flood damage, Cari said. Italian firefighters were searching the French side for people who may have been blocked.

Unrelenting rainfall overnight hit levels not seen since 1958 in northern Italy’s Piedmont region, where as much as 630 millimetres of rain fell in a 24-hour period, according to the Italian civil protection agency.

Hundreds of rescue operations were underway. Eleven campers were saved in Vercelli province, where floodwaters hit 20-year highs. And Alpine rescue squads have evacuated by foot seven people who were in houses cut off by flooding at Terme di Valdieri; some had to be carried on stretchers due to the muddy conditions and accumulation of detritus.

People clean up mud caused by flooding in Ventimiglia, Italy, on Saturday. (Federico Scoppa/AFP via Getty Images)

On the other side of the border, in southeastern France, almost a year’s average rainfall fell in less than 12 hours in the mountainous area surrounding the city of Nice. Nice mayor Christian Estrosi said over 100 homes were destroyed or severely damaged in the area.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex, who flew over the area in an helicopter, confirmed that at least eight people were missing, including two firefighters whose vehicle was carried away by water when the road collapsed during a rescue operation.

“I cannot hide our grave concern on the definitive toll,” Castex said.

Floodwaters can be seen circling a home in Saint-Martin Vésubie. (Valery Hache/AFP via Getty Images)

Many worried families had not heard from their relatives due to cellphone services being cut off in the area.

“As I speak, priority goes to searching for victims, providing supplies and accommodation for the people affected, and restoring communications,” the prime minister said.

Rescue efforts included 871 personnel working on the ground, as well as military helicopters and troops helping with emergency assistance, Castex said.

A car lies in mud after being moved by floods in Roquebilliere, southeastern France. (Nicolas Tucat/AFP via Getty Images)

French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday expressed gratitude toward rescuers on Twitter. “Together we will get through this,” he said.

France’s national weather agency, Meteo France, said that up to 500 millimeters of rain (19.7 inches) were recorded in some areas, the equivalent of almost one year of average rainfall.

Meteo France issued a danger alert on Friday and all schools in the region had been closed. Local authorities urged people to stay at home.

In central Switzerland, flooding along the Reuss River caused the closure of a stretch of the A2 highway – a major trans-Alpine route. Further east, 13 residents were evacuated from their homes in the town of Diesbach because of flooding.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

CBC | World News

Scientists Might Have Found the Moon’s Missing Metal

This site may earn affiliate commissions from the links on this page. Terms of use.

Scientists studying the moon have long puzzled over the low metal content of Earth’s satellite. After all, if the moon formed from fragments of Earth, shouldn’t it have similar metal content? NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) might finally have found an explanation for this apparent discrepancy: the metal might be buried deep below the surface. 

No one knows exactly how the moon formed, but most researchers accept the collision hypothesis as the most probable. According to this model, a massive planetoid the size of Mars collided with the primordial Earth several billion years ago. The impact blasted large portions of Earth’s crust into space, which would have formed a ring that slowly coalesced into the moon we know today. 

The catch is that the moon’s chemical composition doesn’t seem to support an origin like that. At least, the part of the moon we can see doesn’t support it. The lunar highlands, visible as light regions on the surface, have lower metal content than Earth. Meanwhile, the darker maria planes have higher metal content, but the two features would have formed at the same time. 

New data from the RO might finally help unravel this mystery thanks to an instrument called the Miniature Radio Frequency (Mini-RF). The Mini-RF measures the dielectric constant, a way to measure the conducting properties of a material compared with the vacuum of space. NASA designed this tool to scan craters for water ice, but it can also detect metals. 

According to the new study, the dielectric constant on the moon increases with crater size. Craters between 1 and 3 miles (2 and 5 kilometers) in diameter showed higher metal content when viewed from the LRO, but the increase tapered off around 3-12 miles. The team speculated that the first few hundred meters of the surface were low in metal oxides, but the concentration was higher below that. 

To confirm the speculation, the researchers compared their results to existing metal oxide maps of the moon from missions like Japan’s Selenological and Engineering Explorer (SELENE) and NASA’s Lunar Prospector spacecraft. Sure enough, the data showed larger craters have higher concentrations of metal. This data may also have some relevance to NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL), which showed that there’s a lot of dense material deep below the moon’s surface. 

The team is not calling this one solved quite yet. The next step is to conduct similar scans on the moon’s southern hemisphere to see if the craters have similar geology. 

Now read:

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

ExtremeTechExtreme – ExtremeTech

Prince Harry Shares One Thing He’s Been Missing From England After Moving to L.A.

Prince Harry Shares One Thing He’s Been Missing From England After Moving to L.A. | Entertainment Tonight

Let’s block ads! (Why?)


2,000 COVID-19 cases missing from Toronto’s map of hot spots

More than 2,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases are missing from the map the City of Toronto released last week that shows infections by neighbourhood, CBC News has found.

The detailed geographic information about the spread of the novel coronavirus was released last week by Toronto Public Health, marking the first time such data has been made available in Ontario during the pandemic. It shows infections based on where patients live.

But in a review of published data, CBC News found the count on the map comes up short.   

On Thursday morning, the map, which is updated daily at 3 p.m. ET, showed 9,623 positive COVID-19 cases distributed over 140 neighbourhoods. That’s 2,029 cases short of the official 11,652 total count for that day.

That means roughly one out of every five cases is missing in the city’s own geographic analysis. Similar proportions of missing data were found in the map and case counts from previous days.

The data gap was not mentioned in any of the local health authority’s statistics or on its webpage until CBC pointed it out. 

Muhammad Junayed, right, gets instructions for being tested for COVID-19 from a health-care worker at a pop-up testing centre at the Islamic Institute of Toronto. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

An extra row identified as “Missing addresses/postal code,” totalling 2,029 cases, has been added to the city’s downloadable spreadsheet showing the number of cases assigned to each neighbourhood.

Toronto Public Health blames the missing data on reports sent by testing labs. The public health authority says some forms only have a name and an address, while others don’t have a patient’s postal code or phone number, leaving health authorities scrambling to fill in gaps.

“Sometimes, they are not putting enough contact details, and in the legislation it doesn’t specify that you must include XYZ details of the individual,” said Dr. Vinita Dubey, Toronto’s associate medical officer of health, referring to the provincial law that requires medical labs to report positive results of certain tests to local health authorities. 

“It just requires that it be reported, so that’s where some of the missing information and gaps occur.”

Delays possible

Dubey said it’s “very unlikely” that the missing data had an impact on contact tracing, but that there could have been delays as her staff had to retrieve missing contact information before they could connect with a patient who tested positive. 

Toronto Public Health said that so far, it has been able to complete contact tracing for a patient within 24 hours in 88 per cent of cases. 

The issue of information transfer between laboratories and public health units was raised last Friday in a report to city council and the Toronto Board of Health by Toronto Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa. 

Dr. Eileen de Villa said that ‘case and contact management is a complex and time-consuming process,’ in a statement on Wednesday. (Rozenn Nicolle/Radio-Canada)

“Laboratories’ reports are received all together in one large fax, sometimes containing hundreds of individual lab results, which must be taken apart for further processing,” de Villa wrote. 

She called for changes in laboratory procedures and the provincial law.

Missing hot spots

Beyond potential delays in contact tracing, the missing geographic data might have another impact. 

Toronto’s current map distribution suggests that some of the city’s poorest and most diverse neighbourhoods — predominantly in the northwest and northeast areas — have had the highest number of cases so far and might be most vulnerable to the novel coronavirus. 

As Ontario is ramping up testing, resources like mobile testing clinics, staff and personal protection equipment will be focused on those hardest-hit areas of the city. 

But with 2,000 cases missing, one researcher familiar with Toronto’s map data said health authorities could be missing out on other vulnerable communities. 

Kate H. Choi, an associate professor in the department of sociology at Western University in London, Ont., said Toronto has been ahead of the curve in terms of COVID-19 data collection, so she was “really, really surprised” when she was told how many of the city’s confirmed cases were missing from its map.

Kate H. Choi is an associate professor of sociology at Western University. (Kate Choi)

She said part of the issue might also be that some populations are less likely to be able to provide a precise address or a postal code, including homeless people, migrant workers or nursing home residents. 

“We may be missing COVID-19 hot spots or certain vulnerable populations may be missing from the narrative about COVID-19 in Toronto.” 

Alternatively, some Torontonians might feel a false sense of security after assuming their neighbourhood is low-risk based on the map, said Choi. It’s also possible that resources and staff could fail to be deployed to hospitals in unknown hot spots, which could lead to more transmission of the virus.

“Those 2,029 individuals are someone’s loved one,” said Choi. “They are also 2,029 people who could be your neighbours. They could be residents in an area where there are a lot of asymptomatic carriers and unfortunately, that may mean they could bring COVID-19 to your doorsteps.”

WATCH | Toronto releases a map showing the city’s COVID-19 cases:

The City of Toronto has released the postal code data about where COVID-19 patients live in the city. Some fear it could stigmatize communities, but the information can help officials decide where to conduct more testing. 2:00

Choi stressed that more research on the age, gender and other characteristics of the missing 2,029 cases is needed to fully understand the impact and risks of this data gap.

Toronto Public Health has also repeatedly said that the map shows where patients infected with COVID-19 live and not where they acquired the infection. 

Gap won’t be fixed for weeks

Toronto Public Health said it does not have the resources to go looking for the 2,029 missing postal codes at the moment.

“Some of them were early on in our outbreak and so it would require going back to some of these cases in February and March. That work won’t be done until we either have less cases or have reached the end of the first wave,” said Dubey. 

This is the second data gap uncovered by CBC in less than a week. On Monday, it was revealed that Ontario hospitals had failed to flag 700 positive COVID-19 tests to public health officials because of a mixup. 

In a statement to CBC, Ontario Health has said the impact of the error “may not be fully understood for some time.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

CBC | Health News

5 military members missing after helicopter crash now presumed dead

The Department of National Defence has officially given up hope of finding survivors from this week’s crash of a CH-148 Cyclone helicopter off the coast of Greece, and has switched its search efforts to recovering remains and aircraft wreckage.

The chopper went down Wednesday in the Ionian Sea while taking part in NATO exercises.

In a brief statement, the department said the five missing crew members are now considered missing and presumed dead.

The body of one naval officer — Sub-Lieutenant Abbigail Cowbrough, a Marine Systems Engineering Officer aboard HMCS Fredericton — was recovered almost immediately after the crash.

Five others — Capt. Brenden Ian MacDonald, Capt. Kevin Hagen, Capt. Maxime Miron-Morin, Sub-Lieutenant Matthew Pyke, and Master- Cpl. Matthew Cousins — remain unaccounted for after more than two days of searching.

Unidentified remains

The department says additional remains were discovered during the search but they “cannot be identified at this time.”

Rear Admiral Craig Baines, commander of Maritime Forces Atlantic, said Friday that the decision to declare the five “missing and presumed deceased” was not taken lightly.

“While searches on the sea are never easy, these units have completely saturated the area for the duration of the search over a known crash location. So we are certain that if there were survivors, we would have found them within the past 48 hours,” he said.

He said every effort will be made to identify the remains that were recovered, but that likely won’t happen until they are returned to Canada.

Baines said searchers recovered debris from the aircraft, including a side door and pieces of the fuselage.

A repatriation airlift to return all recovered human remains to Canada is expected to take place next week.

HMCS Fredericton, which was part of a standing NATO task group, is now headed to an unnamed port in Italy and will arrive tomorrow. Baines said the ship’s company is expected to hold a vigil to pay tribute to the fallen shipmates before departing the crash scene.

‘We grieve’

In his weekly letter to all members of the Armed Forces, the country’s top military commander said the accident and loss of life is painful for the families of victims, but also for the military and for Nova Scotia, the province they called home.

“What makes this all the more difficult to bear is our inability – thus far – to recover all of our fallen comrades,” Gen. Jonathan Vance wrote in the letter, posted online this afternoon. 

“The investigation will proceed and answers about the cause will hopefully be found. In the meantime, we grieve.”

A Royal Canadian Air Force flight safety team was slated to depart Canada today to investigate the accident. It will begin work immediately upon arrival, a department statement said.

Rear-Admiral Craig Baines, the commander of Canada’s East Coast fleet, said during a media availability today that the investigators will meet the frigate dockside in Italy. He said he was unable to provide further information about the investigation.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praised the dead crew members and promised accountability.

“In challenging times, Canadians lean on one another. Together we will get through this tragedy, and never forget those who were lost,” Trudeau said in a statement.

“We will continue to keep Canadians updated as the investigation progresses.”

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, also in a statement, said the search for survivors was ended “with a heavy heart.”

The flight data recorders were recovered from the debris and are to be analyzed at the National Research Council in Ottawa.

In an interview with CBC News that took place before the search switched to recovery mode, Sajjan acknowledged the difficulty involved in reaching wreckage that may be as much as 3,000 metres below the surface of the Ionian Sea.

Few nations possess that kind of deep-diving capability and Sajjan said he’s been talking to NATO’s secretary general and allies about the technological options.

“I can assure you we will put in all of the resources necessary,” said Sajjan who expressed confidence in the investigation team. “Our folks on the ground will figure what happened.”

The debris also is believed to be spread over a wide area on the ocean floor. One expert said that spread suggests something about the forces involved in the crash.

“It suggests a high speed impact” with the ocean, said Michael Byers, a University of British Columbia defence expert who has testified before the Senate on search and rescue.

“That will obviously increase the challenges of the recovery operation, but until we have something that can actually go down there — even just to take pictures — we really won’t know what happened to the aircraft.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

CBC | World News

1 dead, 5 missing in Canadian military helicopter crash during NATO operations near Greece

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.

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.

The six members were on a six-month deployment that began in January.

There will be many questions in the coming days about how the tragedy occurred, Trudeau said.

“I can assure you, we will get answers in due course.”

Aircraft from Canada, Italy and Turkey, with support from Greece and the U.S., are searching for the CH-148 Cyclone helicopter, NATO said in a short statement.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau started 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.

Vance said the Cyclone fleet has been put on “operational pause” to allow flight safety teams to investigate and rule out any fleet-wide problems.

He added the helicopter fleet is modern and has “state-of-the-art” technology.

“We have a lot of confidence in this fleet,” he said. 

Vance said the crash’s debris area is large and the exact position of wreckage is not yet known. The voice and flight data recorders broke away from the helicopter and have been retrieved, he said.

Sajjan said efforts are underway to find the five missing members and the cause of the crash is unknown.

A team is en route to the region to get answers.

The helicopter was based on HMCS Fredericton, which 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. 

Vance called it a “time of agony” for the Canadian Armed Forces and for the family members of those who were on board, and said the military has been in touch with next of kin.

Vance confirmed that Nova Scotia Sub-Lt. Abbigail Cowbrough is among the victims.

Cowbrough was a crew member on 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.

Trudeau acknowledged it is another “very hard day” for Nova Scotia — still grieving the victims of a gun massacre — and for all Canadians.

“In a season of grief – a time of hardship, heartbreak and loss for so many Canadians – the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces stand tall,” he said. “Bearing the maple leaf on their shoulders, they are known around the world as beacons of civility, compassion and courage.”

Greece expresses grief

“I express my grief over the crash of the Canadian helicopter in the Ionian Sea last night,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Thursday, speaking in parliament.

Mitsotakis said he would contact Trudeau to express his condolences.

A CH-148 Cyclone maritime helicopter is seen during a training exercise at 12 Wing Shearwater near Dartmouth, N.S., in 2015. A search is underway for a Canadian CH-148 that crashed on Wednesday near Greece during a NATO exercise. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

Greek state broadcaster ERT was first to report that a Canadian military helicopter had gone down in the waters between Italy and Greece on Wednesday.

The broadcaster later said one body had been found and five others on board were missing.

A NATO source told CBC News that contact with the helicopter was lost early in the evening on Wednesday, around 8:15 p.m. local time. The flight was briefed as a routine operation while the task force was at sea, according to the official, who asked that their name be kept confidential because of the sensitivity of the subject.

HMCS Fredericton has been on deployment since January.

WATCH | Canadian military helicopter missing near Greece:

The Canadian Armed Forces says it lost contact with a helicopter off the coast of Greece amid reports of a crash. 2:39

ERT reported that the helicopter had come from the Canadian frigate, which is taking part in the alliance’s Operation Reassurance meant to deter Russian aggression throughout Eastern Europe. 

The crash reportedly happened in the Ionian Sea about 80 kilometres off the Greek resort island of Cephalonia.

The Cyclone is a militarized version of the Sikorsky S-92 utility helicopter.

The Cyclones replaced the air force’s five-decade-old CH-124 Sea Kings, which were gradually retired from service over the last few years. The crash of a Cyclone represents a major blow, given how long the military had to wait for the aircraft to be developed.

Cost escalations

Originally ordered in 2004, the Cyclone program faced delays and cost escalations — to the point where former auditor general Sheila Fraser slammed the federal government’s handling of the project in 2010.

The Cyclone routinely flies with a crew of four: two pilots, a tactical operator and a sensor operator. There is also room for several passengers. The helicopter’s primary mission is hunting submarines, but it has a sophisticated surveillance suite and is also outfitted for search-and-rescue.

Since coming into service, the Cyclone has been deployed on five overseas missions with the navy, including previous NATO stints.

The air force has praised the aircraft’s capabilities repeatedly — although it was involved in at least one shipboard accident while serving with HMCS Regina and the resupply ship MV Asterix in the Pacific Ocean last year.

A Cyclone suffered what defence officials described at the time as a “hard landing” aboard the Asterix on Feb. 18, 2019. 

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

CBC | World News

It’s Nope-ning Day — here’s what we’re missing about baseball

Today should have been one of the great days on the sports calendar: Opening Day in Major League Baseball. But instead of basking in all those wonderful fresh-start/hope-springs-eternal/summer’s-around-the-corner vibes, we’re stuck inside (if we’re lucky) with no sports of any kind to keep our minds off the pandemic.

MLB, like every other league, has no real idea when it’ll be back. Spring training was abruptly halted on March 12, and four days later the start of the regular season was pushed back until at least mid-May. That’s a best-case scenario, though commissioner Rob Manfred still sounds hopeful (at least publicly) that the reboot will happen somewhere in that range. “My optimistic outlook is that at some point in May we’ll be gearing back up,” he said on ESPN last night.

Manfred admitted that a full 162-game season is likely out the window, so the focus now is on limiting how many games are lost. Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins floated the idea of seven-inning doubleheaders, which could allow teams to average as many as nine games a week, and Manfred said he wouldn’t rule that out. He added that MLB is willing to “experiment” and “nothing’s off the table for us right now.” ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that baseball is considering holding the World Series at a warm-weather neutral site, which could allow the regular season to extend into October and the playoffs into November.

The other interesting thing the commissioner revealed is that baseball’s investigation into the Boston Red Sox for alleged sign stealing is complete. After Manfred dropped the hammer on the Houston Astros back in January for cheating their way to the 2017 World Series title, word was that Boston would soon be punished for running a similar scheme during their run to the ’18 championship. But Manfred said his office has been so busy dealing with the fallout from postponing the season that no one has had time to write up the report. A ruling (which would include potential punishment for the Sox) will be released before the season starts, Manfred promised.

On a sunnier note, let’s look at some of the stuff we can look forward to whenever baseball gets going again:

The first full season for the Jays’ young guns

Toronto’s 67-95 record in 2019 was its worst in three years, but it still felt like the most fun Jays season in awhile. That was because of the arrival of three hot prospects: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio.

Guerrero was promoted to the big leagues first, in late April, accompanied by tremendous hype. The thick third baseman didn’t exactly light it up, but 15 homers in 123 games and an OPS+ of 106 (100 is considered average) are still pretty impressive numbers for a guy who was only 20 years old when the season ended. Most players that age still have another few years of minor-league seasoning ahead of them.

Bichette’s arrival at the end of July was quieter, but the wiry shortstop quickly stole the show by reeling off an 11-game hitting streak (including eight multi-hit efforts, four homers and nine doubles) to start his big-league career. Bichette finished with a.311 batting average, .571 slugging percentage (the guy was a doubles machine) and a 144 OPS+. Those are phenomenal stats for someone who just turned 22 on March 5. Also, his hair is to die for.

Biggio — who, like Guerrero and Bichette, is the son of a former big-league star — doesn’t appear to have as much upside because he’s about to turn 25. But his 16 homers and 14 stolen bases in only 100 games after his late-May callup suggest Biggio has the potential to be a very good player for years to come.

No one is expecting the Jays to contend this year. The division is just too tough with the Yankees and Rays at the top, and even the (probably soon-to-be-disgraced) Red Sox still have a solid team despite trading superstar Mookie Betts to the Dodgers for peanuts in order to save a few bucks. But a full year of Guerrero, Bichette and Biggio — and the addition of a new ace in ex-Dodger Hyun-Jin Ryu — is going to make the rebuilding Jays worth watching again.

Bo Bichette, and his hair, are just the tonic we need in these troubled times. (Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

The Rage Against the Astros Tour

Sports are better with villains. And baseball, for some time now, has been lacking in compelling characters. Now it has both in a borderline-evil Astros team. Their heel turn started in last year’s playoffs when a (since-fired) team executive mocked a group of female reporters, and it reached new depths when they were caught for one of the biggest cheating scandals in sports history.

Houston’s audacious system of stealing signals from opposing catchers and relaying the intel to their own hitters so they’d know what pitch was coming will forever taint the team’s 2017 World Series win. It also cost brilliant-but-smug GM Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch their jobs. Same for former Houston bench coach Alex Cora and ex-player Carlos Beltran, who lost their managerial jobs with Boston and the Mets, respectively, after being accused of being ringleaders in the sign stealing.

OK, sure, it’s not ideal that baseball needed something this embarrassing to happen in order for it to penetrate the sports-news cycle. But there’s no doubt that this will add juice to the 2020 season. It’s going to be so, so fun to cheer against the Astros, and to watch every other team come at them hard each time they arrive in the next ballpark.

Washington’s title defence

The team that, to everyone’s delight, slayed the ‘Stros to win its first World Series in franchise history now wants to prove that it wasn’t a one-off. Honestly, though, it probably was.

The Nationals were a very good team last year that got stronger as the year went on, and they were a worthy champion. But they don’t have the feel of a juggernaut in the making, and they lost their best hitter — third baseman Anthony Rendon — to the Angels in free agency. It’ll be up to 21-year-old phenom Juan Soto, who’s coming off a monster 34-homer sophomore season, to pick up the slack.

The Dodgers going all in

L.A. has probably been the best team in baseball since 2013. They’ve won seven division titles in a row and captured two National League pennants in that span. But they have zero championships to show for it, and their World Series title drought now stands at 32 years.

Last year was especially crushing for the Dodgers. They won a franchise-record 106 games in the regular season and were heavily favoured to reach their third World Series in a row. Instead, they lost their opening playoff matchup to Washington.

Well, the Dodgers aren’t fooling around this year. Even though their roster was already stacked, they took advantage of Boston’s sudden (and cynical) desire to dump salary by trading for Mookie Betts — one of the very best players in baseball — and useful starter David Price for pennies on the dollar. Betts can walk in free agency after this year, but the Dodgers don’t care. They’re going for it. You love to see it.

This is an excerpt from The Buzzer, the CBC Sports daily newsletter. Stay up to speed on what’s happening in sports by subscribing here.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

CBC | Sports News