A sad announcement today from the United States Navy as they have declared that five missing sailors are dead after nearly a week after the helicopter crashed in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego.
They are now shifting to search and recovery operation the Navy stated on Saturday.
The 72 hour coordinated rescue efforts and nearly three dozen search and rescue flights to look for wreckage have came to an end, the Navy’s Pacific Fleet said in a statement on Saturday.
The names of the sailors are being withheld until next of kin have been notified.
There were also 5 other sailors who were injured on Tuesday 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.
The MH-60S helicopter typically carries a crew of about four and is used in missions including combat support, humanitarian disaster relief and search and rescue.
The aircraft belongs to the Navy’s Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 8.
You can read the full statement from the U.S. Navy below:
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 (CVN 72) 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 five search helicopters and constant surface vessel search.
Units involved in the effort included assets from Coast Guard District 11, Abraham Lincoln, 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.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of those families in this tragic loss. We thank you for giving the ultimate sacrifice and serving your country.
Thanks to our friends at KTLA for contributing to this article.