The Royal Canadian Air Force has released the names of the two members killed earlier this week in a helicopter crash in the Ottawa River near Garrison Petawawa.

Capt. David Domagala, 32, and Capt. Marc Larouche, 53, were killed in the crash. The military released the names in accordance with the wishes of the family.

Larouche, originally from Amos, Que., served with several squadrons and flew the CH-135 Twin Huey, CH-146 Griffon and CH-147F Chinook helicopters, according to a news release from Canada’s Department of National Defence (DND).

Larouche deployed 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,” read a family statement signed by Larouche’s partner Annie.

“He was a father, a son, a brother, a friend. … Above all he was a mentor.”

A bouquet of flowers on a PETAWAWA sign made of bricks. There's a model helicopter in the background.
Flowers were placed on a sign for Garrison Petawawa on the same day of the military helicopter crash. (Chris Rands/CBC)

Larouche had been a pilot since 1993 and became a “revered instructor,” the statement said.

“It comforts us all to know that he left doing what he loved most.”

Domagala, originally from Woodstock, Ont., served in the Canadian Army Reserve before applying to become a pilot, DND said.

After graduating from the Royal Military College, Domagala completed pilot training and was posted to 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron in 2019.

He deployed internationally in Egypt, for which he received a Commander Commendation from Canadian Joint Operations Command. He commenced training on the CH-147F Chinook upon redeployment.

The crash

A CH-147F Chinook helicopter carrying four Canadian Armed Forces members on a training flight crashed into the Ottawa River near Garrison Petawawa just after midnight early Tuesday morning.

Two members of 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron were reported missing and were found dead later that day, according to National Defence Minister Anita Anand.

The two others on board were found by Garrison Petawawa firefighters with minor injuries and have been released from hospital, DND said.

The helicopter had two pilots practising flying at night and two crew members in the back, according to a Wednesday morning news conference.

About 110 military members searched the area Tuesday, including divers and air support out of Petawawa and 8 Wing Trenton. Ontario Provincial Police divers and local firefighters were also involved.

On Wednesday, the department said the Royal Canadian Air Force’s Directorate of Flight Safety was investigating the cause of the crash.

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