US Navy declares five dead after helicopter crash off California coast

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Five Navy sailors on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln were declared dead after they disappeared following a helicopter crash off the California coast, the US 3rd fleet said in a news release on Saturday (see hereunder).

One sailor was rescued shortly after the MH-60S helicopter crashed Tuesday afternoon and was in stable condition at a San Diego hospital

The MH-60S helicopter the sailors were in crashed about 60 miles off the coast of San Diego, California, while conducting routine flight operations on Tuesday. The Navy has shifted operations from search and rescue to recovery.

Source: CNN, USA Today

The US Navy press release:

Navy Shifts to Recovery of 5 Sailors in Helicopter Crash

04 September 2021
SAN DIEGO—The U.S. Navy has declared the five missing crew members of an MH-60S helicopter crash, deceased. U.S. 3rd Fleet has shifted from search and rescue efforts to recovery operations, Sept. 4.

Assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 8, the helicopter was conducting routine flight operations from USS Abraham Lincoln when it crashed into the sea approximately 60 nautical miles off the coast of San Diego at 4:30 p.m. (PST), Aug. 31.

As a matter of respect for the families and in accordance with Navy policy, the identities of the Sailors will be withheld until 24 hours after their next of kin have been notified.

The transition from search and rescue efforts to recovery operations comes after more than 72 hours of coordinated rescue efforts encompassing 34 search and rescue flights, over 170 hours of flight time, with 5 search helicopters and constant surface vessel search.

Units involved in the effort included assets from Coast Guard District 11, USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), USS Cincinnati (LCS 20), and helicopter squadrons from the U.S. Pacific Fleet Helicopter Sea Combat Wing and Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing.

An investigation into the incident is underway.

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