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Two RCAF members missing, two rescued after helicopter crash near Ottawa River

4 Royal Canadian Air Force members on board a CH-147 Chinook helicopter as part of a training flight
Two RCAF CH-147F Chinook, multi-mission, medium to heavy-lift helicopters are seen at CFB Bagotville in Bagotville, Que. on Thursday, June 7, 2018. The Royal Canadian Air Force says one of its military helicopters has been involved in an unspecified incident while operating in eastern Ontario early this morning. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

The Royal Canadian Air Force is searching for two missing members following the crash of a military helicopter operating in eastern Ontario early this morning.

The Department of National Defence says four of the Royal Canadian Air Force members were on board a CH-147 Chinook helicopter when the crash happened after midnight near the Ottawa River near Petawawa, Ont.

The department says they were on board as part of a training flight.

Two of the crew were found by first responders and taken to hospital in Pembroke, Ont., but the two others are still missing.

The department says about 50 Canadian Armed Forces members are searching for the two on shore and in the water, assisted by an Ontario Provincial Police marine unit, Petawawa and Pembroke fire departments and several military rescue aircraft.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he spoke Tuesday morning with Gen. Wayne Eyre, chief of the defence staff.

“My thoughts go out to the entire Canadian Armed Forces, the members of the 450 Squadron who are obviously very deeply affected by this,” Trudeau said on his way into a cabinet meeting on Parliament Hill.

“We’re now hoping for the best, but braced for the worst,” he said. “We just want to thank everyone who serves and show them our support through this difficult time,” he said.”

The department is asking boaters to avoid the area near the Garrison Petawawa military base to allow for search efforts and ensure the integrity of the crash scene.

Petawawa is about 160 kilometres northwest of Ottawa.

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