Two killed in crash of Canadian Forces helicopter

A Canadian Forces Griffon helicopter has gone down in Labrador, two crew members are dead.

A Canadian Forces helicopter crashed in Labrador Thursday night, killing two crew members and injuring two more.

A spokesperson for the Canadian Forces, Lt.-Cmdr. Denise Laviolette, says searchers immediately set out to look for the Griffon helicopter. "At quarter to nine the crash site was located by another Griffon out of Goose Bay," he said.

Captain Colin Sonoski and Captain Juli-Ann Mackenzie were killed in the crash.

Rescue technician Sergeant Mario Michaud suffered fractures and is listed in critical condition. He was to be moved to a St. John's hospital Friday morning.

Flight engineer Corporal David Pawulski is in stable condition. He's in a Goose Bay hospital.

The downed CH-146 Griffon helicopter was found in a wooded area about 45 kilometres northwest of Goose Bay.

It was returning from an aborted search and rescue mission when it suddenly lost contact with its base. It was looking for an overdue boat in the Hopedale area in northern Labrador.

The missing boat arrived safely at Davis Inlet so the search was called off on Thursday afternoon.

But about 50 minutes later, the Halifax centre was advised that the chopper had gone down.

Laviolette says the military community has been hit hard. "The squadron, as you know, is a very small squadron so they are going through a pretty emotional time right now."

A new commanding officer is due to take over the squadron Friday and a change of command parade had been planned. That has been cancelled.

Prime Minister Jean Chrtien issued a statement expressing his sympathy.

"Mere words are of small solace at times like this. Yet it is my hope that some comfort may be found by the families knowing that their loved ones died as heroes on a rescue mission," he said.

The cause of the crash is not yet known.