Search for bodies ends after Army chopper crash off Florida kills 11

13 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Divers find missing helicopter in pieces underwater.

Divers have found the bodies of two of 11 troops killed in a US Army helicopter crash off the Florida coast, officials said Thursday about one of the worst military mishaps in years.

The US military helicopter that crashed off the coast of Florida on Tuesday night has been found and the Coast Guard has called off the search for the 11 missing soldiers and Marines that were aboard the aircraft, the New York Times reported. The UH-60 Black Hawk was carrying seven US Marines and a four-man air crew from the Louisiana National Guard when it went down late Tuesday during a night-time training exercise near Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. The US military has not released the names of those aboard the helicopter. “At this point, we are not hopeful for survivors, and we’re transitioning our search and rescue to a recovery effort,” Col.

With the discovery of the copter’s shattered core, which has been inspected by divers, the response officially changed from search-and-rescue to search-and-recovery, 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. Search teams spotted debris from the helicopter at about 2:00 am Wednesday and remaining wreckage was found on Thursday in the Santa Rosa Sound in Florida.

There’s almost no visibility at the crash site, and search crews in boats are moving as slowly as they can in the rough surf to avoid running into each other or wreckage from the crash, he said. The helicopters, assigned to the 1-244th Assault Helicopter Battalion in Hammond, Louisiana, were carrying out a training mission with the Marine Special Operations Regiment from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. The accident, which remains under investigation, was the most deadly since a V-22 tilt-rotor Osprey plunged to the ground and exploded in Arizona in 2000, killing all 19 Marines on board. 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. 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.

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. The Marines from the Marine Corps Special Operations Command at Camp Lejeune, N.C., were practicing insertion and extraction techniques, using small boats and helicopters to get into and out of a target site, and the training in adverse weather conditions was not unusual, officials said. The unit had served two tours of duty overseas in the Iraq war and also deployed to help during hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the BP oil spill, Mississippi River flooding and other domestic missions. Military officials said search crews were focused on a 6-mile stretch of the sound. “It sounded like something metal either being hit or falling over, that’s what it sounded like. 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.

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.

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