While performing a “routine flight”, a US Navy helicopter crashed on Monday, August 31 in the Pacific Ocean. The aircraft was flying a little over a hundred kilometers off the coast of San Diego at the time of the accident. The US Navy on Saturday declared the deaths of five crew members missing since the crash.
“The Navy declares the deaths of the five crew members missing in the crash of the MH-60 helicopter,” according to a statement. A sixth crew member had been saved . “An investigation is underway” into the accident, the US Navy said. Admiral Mike Gilday, who commands naval operations, said he was “deeply saddened” in a statement.
The US Navy informed that five servicemen, who went missing earlier this week, were declared ‘dead’ after multiple search operations failed to locate them. On Tuesday, a helicopter belonging to the Navy’s 3rd Pacific Fleet crashed a few kilometres off the Californian Coast. Soon after a search operation was initiated and one person was rescued. Later, the fleet commander confirmed that multiple coast guards, navy, air and surface assets were deployed for the same.
Later, Naval commander Mike Gilday, in an online statement, expressed his grief at the tragedy. Additionally, he also offered his support to the families, loved ones and shipmates of the dead naval servicemen.
Incident happened during routine operations
The incident took place during routine operations of the Navy’s Pacific fleet, nearly 60 nautical miles off the coast of San Diego at 4.30 pm on 31 August. The officials announced that one man was rescued, adding that multiple rescue operations were ongoing to look out for the missing USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) troops. The fleet commander stated that Coast Guard, Navy air and surface assets were also deployed for the same.
The U.S. Navy declared five missing sailors dead days after a helicopter crashed in the Pacific Ocean, shifting the search for them to a recovery operation on Saturday.
The move followed more than 72 hours of coordinated rescue efforts and nearly three dozen search and rescue flights to look for the wreckage, the Navy’s Pacific fleet said in a Saturday statement.
The names of the sailors were being withheld until their next of kin have been notified.
Also injured on Tuesday were five other sailors who were on board the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier where the MH-60S helicopter was operating on the deck before the crash.
They were in stable conditions as of Saturday, said Lt. Samuel R. Boyle, a spokesman for the Pacific fleet.
An investigation into what caused the crash about 70 miles (112 kilometers) off San Diego is ongoing, but the fact that sailors aboard the carrier were injured raised questions about whether the helicopter or parts of it hit the Lincoln. When helicopters take off and land on the ship, there are ground crews present on the carrier nearby and other people working on deck.
The helicopter crashed during what the Navy described only as routine flight operations.