Estimated reading time 3 minutes, 59 seconds.
Canso citizens and members of 413 Transport and Rescue Squadron shared a memorial service July 13, 2016, for a helicopter crash that occurred 10 years ago near the community. Squadron aircraft—a CH-149 Cormorant and a CC-130 Hercules—flew overhead during the commemoration. MCpl Pam Evans Photo
Every year, a small contingent from 413 Transport and Rescue Squadron, based at 14 Wing Greenwood, N.S., gathers in Canso, N.S., to pay its respects to three search and rescue (SAR) crew members who died and four others who were injured after a CH-149 Cormorant helicopter from the squadron ditched during a training exercise off Canso on July 13, 2006. The helicopter was known as “Tusker 914” after the nickname of the squadron—the Tuskers—and the helicopter’s tail number: 149914.
The Cormorant’s seven-member crew was practicing night boat hoists from the fishing vessel, Four Sisters No. 1, which was part of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary Maritimes fleet.
At approximately 12:30 a.m., during an attempted go-around from an approach to the fishing vessel, the aircraft hit the water. Three pilots and the SAR technician team lead were injured, but survived. The two flight engineers and a SAR technician were unable to get out of the aircraft and lost their lives: Sgt Duane Brazil, MCpl Kirk Noel and Cpl Trevor McDavid.
The aircraft itself sustained damage beyond economical repair.
The survivors were Sgt Martin Molony, Sgt Ronald Busch, Captain Gabriel Ringuette and Maj Gordon Clements.
The text engraved on the memorial stone reads: “In memory Tusker 914 en mémoire du Trevor – Kirk – Duane July 13, 2006. On July 13, 2006 a Canadian Forces helicopter from 413 Transport and Rescue Squadron carrying seven crew members who were exercising rescue techniques with local Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary members crashed in Canso Harbour. In memory of Sergeant Paul “Duane” Brazil 1996-2006, Master Corporal Kirk Bradley Noel 1972-2006; Corporal Trevor Sterling McDavid 1976-2006. That Others May Live.” MCpl Pam Evans Photo
This year marked the 10th anniversary of this tragic incident. To commemorate the event, a CC-130H Hercules aircraft and a CH-149 Cormorant helicopter from 413 Squadron conducted a flyby during the memorial ceremony in Canso. The town hosted a light luncheon following the service, which included speeches from members of the community and members of 14 Wing.
Addison Underwood, the first mate on the Four Sisters, which was the first responding vessel to offer assistance to the Cormorant crew members, recalled the impressive composure of the SAR technician team lead the night of the crash. Despite his injuries, he was able to guide Underwood’s crew through what they needed to do to help the Cormorant crew.
In an emotional speech, LCol James Marshall, commanding officer of 413 Squadron, said, “They died in the line of duty; training to help people. They weren’t in Afghanistan or Iraq. They weren’t paraded down the highway of heroes, but that doesn’t make their sacrifices less heroic.”
As he closed his speech, LCol Marshall ended with “RESCUE!” The crowd responded “RESCUE!”