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Troops killed in Royal Canadian Air Force helicopter crash

A Canadian Forces member celebrates Remembrance Day Nov. 11, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jerilyn Quintanilla)
June 26, 2023

A helicopter crash near Garrison Petawawa in the Ottawa River earlier this week resulted in the deaths of two members of the Royal Canadian Air Force, Capt. David Domagala and Capt. Marc Larouche.

The military confirmed the names of the two Royal Canadian Air Force members last week in alignment with the families’ wishes, according to CBC News.

Larouche, age 53, hailed from Amos, Quebec, and had an illustrious career with several squadrons. His flying record encompassed the CH-135 Twin Huey, CH-146 Griffon and CH-147F Chinook helicopters, as detailed by Canada’s Department of National Defence (DND). Larouche’s service was not limited to Canadian borders, as he also served internationally in Somalia and domestically in British Columbia.

“It is with profound sadness that I announce the passing of my beloved husband, Capt. Marc Larouche,” Larouche’s partner, Annie, wrote in a statement. “He was a father, a son, a brother, a friend. … Above all he was a mentor.”

As a pilot since 1993, Larouche was a “revered instructor.” Annie said it provided a comfort to the family knowing, “he left doing what he loved most.”

READ MORE: 22 US troops injured in helicopter crash

According to Canada’s Department of National Defence, Domogala, age 32, originated from Woodstock, Ontario, and served in the Canadian Army Reserve prior to training to become a pilot. Domogala graduated from the Royal Military College, completed his pilot training, and was assigned to the 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron in 2019.

Domogala received a Commander Commendation from Canadian Joint Operations Command for his deployment to Egypt. After being redeployed, Domogala began training on the CH-147F Chinook helicopter.

The fateful CH-147F Chinook helicopter crash occurred in the early hours of last Tuesday. It carried four Canadian Armed Forces members on a night training flight, with two pilots and two crew members on board. National Defence Minister Anita Anand confirmed the two deceased were from the 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron. The two other members were found with minor injuries by Garrison Petawawa firefighters and have since been discharged from hospital.

The crash triggered an extensive search involving about 110 military personnel, including divers and air support from Petawawa and 8 Wing Trenton. Ontario Provincial Police divers and local firefighters were also part of the rescue operation.

The Royal Canadian Air Force’s Directorate of Flight Safety is currently investigating the cause of this tragic incident.