A CH-149 Cormorant helicopter constructed by Leonardo Helicopters has been ambushed and battered by a polar bear.
The Royal Canadian Air Force has revealed the chopper was left damaged by the “curious” beast after the run-in in Quebec. Workers on a training exercise fled the whirlybird parked near the Labrador Sea at the outback Saglek Airport and came back to discover massive muddy paw prints around the outside of the aircraft. A side window had been shoved into the AW-101 eggbeater by the bear, and other slight damage had been inflicted.
On social media, one local staff member joked: “Wow, that’s not something I’ve ever thought about in a design review, perhaps another consideration on the checklist?” A Royal Canadian Air Force spokesman noted nobody was injured during the mishap and added that the Leonardo chopper has now been restored. “On the night of September 16, a CH-149 Cormorant helicopter from 14 Wing Greenwood was damaged by a polar bear while parked at Saglek airfield, NL,” they said. “Superficial damage resulted from what appears to have been a curious polar bear pushing on the right side rescue door and removing a small cover panel from the left side of the nose. There is no indication it was looking for food, or that it entered the helicopter.
“There were no personnel in or around the helicopter at the time. The CH-149 Cormorant Helicopters typically park at a different location in Saglek, NL, not frequented by bears, however, in this particular case the crew was forced to park at this airfield overnight due to poor weather.” The spokesman furthered: “The aircraft and its crew were deployed on a two-week training exercise called TUSKER EX to hone mountain flying skills and practice Search and Rescue operations in the challenging environment of the Canadian North. The helicopter remains safe to fly and exercise training resumed once repairs had been completed. Since this helicopter was assigned to a training exercise, there was no impact on Search and Rescue operations.”
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