Search resumes for 11 troops, Marines after crash

12 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Grim Search for Missing Black Hawk With 11 Aboard.

Dense fog is hampering search-and-rescue operations for a military helicopter that disappeared in the Florida panhandle Tuesday night—and only debris and human remains have been found. The Black Hawk was involved in what military officials describe as a routine training mission carrying seven Marines and a four-member flight crew of Army National Guard soldiers when it was reported missing at 8:30 p.m.

One of the Black Hawks went down for reasons that are still unclear, while the other returned to the base without incident. “It is still an active search-and-rescue mission,” said Amy Parr, a spokeswoman for the Air Force base. “We can’t confirm the number of deaths because we are still looking.” If, as feared, all service members died aboard the missing Black Hawk, the crash would be among the deadliest incidents for the U.S. military in recent years. “We have multiple agencies out there right now,” said Parr. “Eglin Fire Department is the lead for this operation. A spokesman for the Marine Corps’ Special Operations Command told the Associated Press that at the time the helicopter went missing it was being used for “insertion and extraction missions.” In addition to the two helicopters, boat crews were involved in the operation. In combat they can involve landing a helicopter in a known enemy location where it is especially vulnerable to attack while it stays in one place to drop off or pick up passengers. The seven Marines missing after the helicopter’s disappearance were assigned to a special operations unit at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, according to a Pentagon official.

While the pilots focus on flying, the crew chiefs handle everything in the body of the aircraft, from performing maintenance to manning machine guns mounted in the doors of the helicopter during combat missions. They were members of the 1-244th Assault Helicopter Battalion based out of Hammond, Louisiana, a unit that has been deployed twice during combat operations in Iraq.

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