Navy Declares 5 Dead In California Coast Helicopter Crash

By Jason Hall

September 4, 2021

Looking up at a Seahawk helicopter flying in blue sky
Photo: Getty Images

The United States Navy declared five missing sailors dead nearly a week after going missing.

The Associated Press reports a helicopter carrying the troops crashed in the Pacific Ocean nearly a week ago, with the declaration transitioning the search to a recovery operation on Saturday (September 4).

The recovery operation followed more than 72 hours of coordinated rescue efforts, which involved nearly three dozen search and rescue flights overlooking the wreckage, according to a statement from the Navy's Pacific fleet obtained by the AP.

The Navy will not make the names of the five sailors public until their next of kin have been notified of their deaths.

Additionally, five other sailors on board the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier, where the MH-60S helicopter was operating on the deck prior to the crash -- experienced injuries, but reported to be in stable condition on Saturday, Lt. Samuel R. Boyle, a spokesman for the Pacific Fleet, confirmed to the AP.

The crash occurred about 70 miles off San Diego. An investigation into the cause of the incident is ongoing, with questions raised about whether the helicopter or parts of it hit the Lincoln after the other sailors were reported to have experienced injuries.

The AP reports the MH-06S crashed during what the Navy described as routine flight operations, and the helicopter typically takes off and lands on the ship, where ground crews are usually present on the carrier and nearby while others work on deck.

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