Thursday, February 22, 2018

2 dead, 1 missing after copter goes down off Va.

A Navy helicopter with five crew members crashed into the ocean off the Virginia coast during a routine training mission Wednesday, killing two crew members and leaving two in the hospital, the U.S. Navy said. Rescuers searched into the night for a fifth sailor.

The two who died were among four crew members hoisted from the 42-degree waters by a Navy helicopter and taken to a hospital, the Navy said in a statement. The two surviving sailors were being treated at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. One is listed in serious condition, the other has been upgraded to fair, the Navy said in a news release.

"Today has definitely been a tough day on all of us," Capt. Todd Flannery, the commander of Helicopter Sea Combat Wing Atlantic, said at a news conference. "Our heartfelt prayers go out to the families and loved ones of those killed and injured in today's crash."

The Navy identified the aircraft as an MH-53E. In July 2012, two crew members were killed when the same model helicopter crashed into a canyon in the Gulf nation of Oman while lifting a downed aircraft.

Wednesday's helicopter, assigned to Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron Fourteen based at Naval Station Norfolk, was doing routine training at the time of the crash, the Navy said.

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