Fifty years ago, the Ottawa River claimed the lives of seven paratroopers on a routine jump
Every May, retired paratroopers, family and friends gather for a small ceremony in Petawawa, Ont., to remember those who died in the worst parachute accident in the history of the Canadian Armed Forces.
Fifty years ago, on May 8, 1968, 26 parachutists jumped from three Buffalo aircraft expecting to land in a drop zone on the Mattawa Plains, a flat sandy stretch of land on Canadian Forces Base Petawawa. Instead, rough winds caught them, sending 22 of them into the frigid Ottawa River. Seven drowned before rescuers could reach them.
“One of the men, Bob Knight, was my best friend. We chummed around quite a bit at the time,” remembered Dennis Stow, who is organizing the 50th anniversary servic...