USS Abraham Lincoln

Navy Declares 5 Missing Sailors Dead After Helicopter Crash Off San Diego Coast; Rescue Operation Shifts to Recovery

On Tuesday at about 4:30 p.m., the helicopter was conducting routine flight operations from USS Abraham Lincoln when it crashed into the sea approximately 60 nautical miles off the coast of San Diego, California

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The U.S. Navy has declared the five sailors aboard a helicopter that crashed off the coast of San Diego dead, shifting search and rescue efforts to recovery operations.

On Tuesday at about 4:30 p.m., an MH-60S helicopter was conducting routine flight operations on deck of USS Abraham Lincoln, a Nimitz class aircraft carrier homeported at Naval Air Station North Island, on Coronado, when it crashed into the sea approximately 60 nautical miles off the coast of San Diego, California.

U.S. Navy
In this Sept. 2018 file photo, MH-60 Sea Hawk helicopters depart the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) in the Atlantic Ocean.

U.S. Navy Third Fleet spokesperson Lt. Sam Boyle confirmed one crew member had been rescued, but five crew members were still unaccounted for.

The Navy said after more than 72 hours of coordinated rescue efforts encompassing 34 search and rescue flights, over 170 hours of flight time, with 5 search helicopters and constant surface vessel search they transitioned from search and rescue efforts to recovery operations.

One U.S. service member was rescued but five others remain missing after a U.S. Navy helicopter crashed about 60 miles off the coast of San Diego. The search efforts continued overnight and into Wednesday morning. NBC 7's Audra Stafford shares details.

Five additional Sailors aboard Abraham Lincoln suffered injuries in the incident and are in stable condition. Two of the five Abraham Lincoln Sailors were transported ashore for treatment, while three of the five Abraham Lincoln Sailors had minimal injuries and remain aboard the ship, the Navy said.

The rescued crew member's condition is still unknown.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of five Sailors and those injured following the MH-60S helicopter tragedy off the coast of Southern California. We stand alongside their families, loved ones, and shipmates who grieve,” said Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday.

The Navy will release the identities of the sailors 24 hours after their next of kin have been notified.

An investigation into the incident is underway.


Check back here for updates on this breaking news story.

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