Navy declares 5 missing sailors dead after helicopter crash

The sailers were on a MH-60S helicopter when it crashed into the Pacific Ocean.

The sailers were on a MH-60S helicopter when it crashed into the Pacific Ocean.US Nav

By Kerry J. Byrne |  The New York Post

The US Navy has declared dead five sailors who had been missing since a helicopter accident off the coast of San Diego.

The operation, the Navy said, has shifted from search and rescue to recovery efforts.

“In accordance with Navy policy, the identities of the Sailors are being withheld for 24 hours following the notification of their next of kin,” the US Pacific Fleet announced Saturday via Twitter. “Our thoughts and prayers are with their families, friends and shipmates.”

An MH-603 Seahawk helicopter was operating on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln Tuesday afternoon when it plunged off the warship and into the water.

In addition to the five victims, six sailors suffered injuries, one on the helicopter and five aboard the ship.

The injured were in stable condition Saturday, the Associated Press reported, citing Navy sources.

The rescue effort included “more than 72 hours of coordinated rescue efforts encompassing 34 search and rescue flights, over 170 hours of flight time, with five search helicopters and constant surface vessel search,” the Navy said.

The search utilized assets from the Coast Guard, the Lincoln, the USS Cincinnati and two helicopter squadrons.

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