Military helicopter crash in Florida: No survivors expected
Bad weather continues to hamper recovery of military helicopter crash victims.
More heavy fog, rain and rough surf complicated Thursday’s efforts to collect the remains of seven Marines and four soldiers whose Black Hawk helicopter crashed offshore while they trained in Florida. One of the Marines killed was Kerry Kemp, who was based at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, said his sister-in-law, Lora Waraksa of Port Washington, Wisconsin.
The same fog and crashing Gulf waves surrounded a pier where a large gathering held vigil Wednesday night, creating a somber backdrop to the songs, tears and prayers of people with strong ties to the military and the sprawling Eglin Air Force Base. Waraksa said her sister, Jenna Kemp, was notified by the Marines overnight that Kerry Kemp’s remains had been found. “At this point, we are not hopeful for survivors and we’re transitioning our search and rescue to a recovery effort,” said Col. Coast Guard boat searches March 11, 2015, a downed Army helicopter in the Intercostal Waterway northeast of Navarre Beach, Fla.(Photo: Tony Giberson, Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal) NAVARRE BEACH, Fla. — Divers have found an Army helicopter that went down in heavy fog, but weather could continue to hamper the recovery of the bodies of 11 servicemembers who died after it crashed in a training exercise off the Florida Panhandle, military officials said Thursday. Dozens of airmen were walking the shores of Santa Rosa Sound on Thursday, and the Coast Guard searched for debris in the water, said Mike Spaits, a base spokesman.
Jack Cullen, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Mobile, Alabama, said Thursday’s dense sea fog could persist through Friday, which is common when warm southern air meets cold water this time of year. The helicopter that crashed had a veteran crew from Hammond, Louisiana, that served multiple tours in Iraq and helped humanitarian missions after Gulf Coast hurricanes and the BP oil spill.
CT Tuesday as the area was under a fog advisory. “The conditions out there were very, very dense,” Giuliano said of the night the helicopter went down and rescue boats were called out. “The boats that did get out there could not see.” On Thursday, officials at Eglin, about 50 miles east of Pensacola confirmed casualties but did not say how many bodies had been recovered overnight. Like the Army’s Green Berets and the Navy’s SEALs, they were highly trained to endure grueling conditions and sensitive assignments on land and at sea, from seizing ships to special reconnaissance missions and direct action inside hostile territory.
Tuesday night’s training involved practicing “insertion and extraction missions,” using small boats and helicopters to get troops into and out of a target site, said Capt. And there were two booms afterward, similar to what you hear with ordnance booms, but more muffled,” Urr said. “We saw gloves, a uniform with a last name on it,” said Alan Collinsworth, a hotel desk clerk.
Baldor in Washington; Jason Dearen in Gainesville, Florida; Freida Frisaro in Miami; Kevin McGill and Stacey Plaisance in Hammond, Louisiana; and Emery P. On Aug. 6, 2011, 30 American troops and eight Afghans died after the Taliban shot down a a CH-47 Chinook helicopter crash in Wardak province, west of Kabul.
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