N.S. sailor killed in helicopter crash remembered as 'patriotic Canadian' who lived to serve others
HALIFAX -- A naval warfare officer who was killed in last week’s helicopter crash off the coast of Greece is being remembered as a “patriotic Canadian” and a “true Maritimer” who lived to serve others.
The family of Sub.-Lt. Matthew Pyke made the comments in a statement, which was read on their behalf by Navy spokeswoman Lt. Melissa Kia in Halifax Tuesday morning.
“He passed away doing what he felt he was born to do -- serve others,” said his family. “He fell in the line of duty for his nation, a finality which deeply aligned with his ethos of honour, and helping others before self.”
Pyke, 34, was originally from Truro, N.S., and was engaged to be married.
He was among the six Canadian Armed Forces members who were onboard the CH-148 Cyclone helicopter when it crashed into the Ionian Sea on April 29.
The Cyclone was deployed with the Halifax-based HMCS Fredericton to Europe in January, where they had been attached to a NATO maritime force tasked with patrolling the Mediterranean and Black seas.
Defence officials have said the helicopter was returning to HMCS Fredericton following a NATO training exercise when it crashed.
According to his family, Pyke was a “loyal Bluenoser” and a leader in his community of Rawdon, N.S., where he was a volunteer firefighter.
“His roots in his Nova Scotia neighbourhood ran deep, so deep, that Matthew, throughout his entire life, was pulled by his sense of duty which drove him to set his goals,” noted the sailor’s family.
“Matthew was happiest when he knew he was contributing to something greater than himself.”
Pyke is also being remembered for his “easy-going nature” and “happiness,” which his family said were his “most infectious gifts.”
“He had a laugh which could light up any room, and a sharp sense of humour,” they said.
“And as East-Coasters are known for, he loved a good time.”
Pyke is one of five service members who are considered missing and presumed dead. The others are Capt. Brenden Ian MacDonald of New Glasgow, N.S., Capt. Kevin Hagen of Nanaimo, B.C., Capt. Maxime Miron-Morin of Trois-Rivieres, Que., and Master Cpl. Matthew Cousins of Guelph, Ont.
The remains of Sub-Lt. Abbigail Cowbrough were recovered after the crash. The remains of one other person have been recovered but not yet identified.
Pyke’s family also expressed their condolences to the families of the other fallen members.
“Our hearts are eternally tied to the families who share the scar we shall all forever carry,” they said.
A flight-investigation team that includes a representative from Sikorsky Aircraft, which builds the Cyclone, is currently investigating the circumstances around the crash.
The helicopter's flight-data and cockpit-voice recorders were recovered and are back in Canada for analysis.
With files from The Canadian Press