The U.S. Navy has declared the five sailors aboard a helicopter that crashed off the coast of San Diego dead, shifting search and rescue efforts to recovery operations.
On Tuesday at about 4:30 p.m., an MH-60S helicopter was conducting routine flight operations on deck of USS Abraham Lincoln, a Nimitz class aircraft carrier homeported at Naval Air Station North Island, on Coronado, when it crashed into the sea approximately 60 nautical miles off the coast of San Diego, California.
U.S. Navy Third Fleet spokesperson Lt. Sam Boyle confirmed one crew member had been rescued, but five crew members were still unaccounted for.
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The Navy said 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 they transitioned from search and rescue efforts to recovery operations.
Five additional Sailors aboard Abraham Lincoln suffered injuries in the incident and are in stable condition. Two of the five Abraham Lincoln Sailors were transported ashore for treatment, while three of the five Abraham Lincoln Sailors had minimal injuries and remain aboard the ship, the Navy said.
The rescued crew member's condition is still unknown.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of five Sailors and those injured following the MH-60S helicopter tragedy off the coast of Southern California. We stand alongside their families, loved ones, and shipmates who grieve,” said Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday.
The Navy will release the identities of the sailors 24 hours after their next of kin have been notified.
An investigation into the incident is underway.
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