The US Navy declared five missing persons on board a naval helicopter that had crashed into the Pacific Ocean off the San Diego coast dead. The crash took place on Tuesday. On Saturday, the US 3rd Fleet shifted from search- and rescue-related operations to a recovery operation.
A sailor who was aboard the MH-60S Knighthawk had been pulled from the ocean after the aircraft had gone down about 60 nautical miles off the shore. The crash occurred when its six-member crew had been going about their routine flight operations off the deck of USS Abraham Lincoln, the aircraft carrier, which has been homeported at San Diego.
The rescued sailor along with two others who had been hurt in the accident had been taken ashore to provide urgent medical care. The other three personnel on the ship only suffered minor injuries and continued to remain aboard.
An investigation is being carried out to detect what caused the aircraft crash, which had been assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 8. Navy officials have reportedly said that it was operational on the deck before it crashed into the sea. The fact that sailors who had been aboard the carrier had been injured raises a question about whether the vehicle or some parts of it had hit the Lincoln.
The units that had been involved in the rescue efforts included a Coast Guard, Abraham Lincoln carrier, helicopter squadrons from the US, and the USS Cincinnati.
The helicopter crashed during what the Navy has reportedly described as usual flight operations. MH-60S, the helicopter, can carry a crew of approximately four. It is typically used in missions, including disaster reliefs, combat support, search, and rescue.