By SDCN Editor
San Diego, CA–The U.S. Navy Saturday has declared five missing crew members of an MH-60S helicopter crash deceased, and the U.S. 3rd Fleet has shifted from search and rescue efforts to recovery operations.
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, according to Navy officials.
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.
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. on Tuesday.
Units involved in the search 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.