The remains of Sub-Lt. Abbigail Cowbrough, a Royal Canadian Navy sailor killed last month in a helicopter crash off the coast of Greece, were expected to arrive in Halifax on Monday.
The Department of National Defence said a police-escorted motorcade would travel from Halifax Stanfield International Airport to the Atlantic Funeral Home in Dartmouth, N.S., starting at 6 p.m. local time.
The motorcade’s planned route includes a drive past HMC Dockyard along Valour Way, which is home to the Royal Canadian Navy’s Atlantic fleet.
Cowbrough’s family were to be joined by military and civilian dignitaries.
The 23-year-old marine systems engineering officer was originally from Toronto but made her home in the Halifax area.
Friends and family have described the young woman as a charismatic, determined individual with a bubbly personality and a love of music.
An accomplished bagpiper and Highland dancer, Cowbrough attended Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont., where she was in charge of the pipe band for a semester.
“We appreciate the outstanding support of our communities towards the families of our fallen and the Canadian Armed Forces,” the military said in a statement Monday.
“For those who wish to recognize Sub-Lt. Cowbrough’s return home, we ask that you join us in adhering to COVID-19 restrictions and practise physical distancing while paying respects, in addition to observing traffic rules.”
The helicopter carrying Cowbrough, a relatively new CH-148 Cyclone, crashed into the Mediterranean Sea on April 29, killing all six military members aboard.
On Sunday, officials in Ontario identified the remains of Capt. Brenden Ian MacDonald of New Glasgow, N.S., a Royal Canadian Air Force pilot and the second victim to be found after the crash.
The other four Canadian Armed Forces members – Capt. Kevin Hagen, Capt. Maxime Miron-Morin, Sub-Lt. Matthew Pyke, and Master Cpl. Matthew Cousins – are missing and presumed dead, but a search is continuing for their remains.
“The CAF community expresses its deepest condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of all our six members,” the Defence Department said in a statement on the weekend. “We hope that they can find some comfort in knowing that we are all grieving with them.”
The helicopter crash, the cause of which remains under investigation, represents the largest loss of life in one day for the Canadian Armed Forces since six Canadian soldiers were killed in a roadside bombing in Afghanistan on Easter Sunday 2007.
The Cyclone was deployed aboard the Halifax-based frigate HMCS Fredericton as part of a NATO mission patrolling the Mediterranean and Black seas. The military says the aircraft was returning to the ship after a training exercise when it hit the water.
The depth of the water at the crash site is about 3,000 metres.
Military statements, and chief of the defence staff Gen. Jonathan Vance himself, first said the ship had “lost contact” with the helicopter, though the Forces later acknowledged that crew aboard the warship saw it crash into the water.
The helicopter’s flight-data and cockpit voice recorders, which floated free of the wreckage, are being examined in Canada.
The Defence Department says a team that includes social workers and military chaplains has been deployed to Italy to provide mental health support to Fredericton’s crew.
The frigate left its home port with the Cyclone for a six-month deployment in January as part of a task force charged with deterring Russian aggression in the region.
The Cyclone was based at 12 Wing Shearwater, a sprawling Royal Canadian Air Force base on the east side of Halifax harbour, not far from Dartmouth.
Since Canada has only two maritime helicopter bases – the other is at Patricia Bay, north of Victoria – the aircrew that work with the Cyclones tend to stay put for long periods of time, local resident Kevin Deveaux said in a recent interview.
“This is a very military community,” said Deveaux, a former politician who represented Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage in the provincial legislature between 1999 and 2007.
“Either you’re in the military, you have a relative in the military or you have a neighbour in the military.”
Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.