Five crew members were saved and are in stable condition after their MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter went down in the Philippine Sea on Saturday evening, officials said.
According to an afternoon statement released by the Navy’s Japan-based 7th Fleet, a Japan Air Self-Defense Force UH-60 search and rescue helicopter transported three of the crew members to Naval Hospital Okinawa for evaluation and the other two returned by a U.S. Navy MH-60S Sea Hawk to the amphibious command ship Blue Ridge.
The statement indicated that the mishap occurred around 5:15 p.m. local time “while conducting routine operations,” setting into motion the search and rescue efforts of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, Japanese Coast Guard, the Navy’s amphibious assault ship America, the 7th Fleet’s flagship Blue Ridge and the U.S. Air Force.
The Pentagon told Navy Times that the rescued helicopter crew members were assigned to the Golden Falcons of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 12.
Officials have not updated the conditions of the crew members.
The Golden Falcons were conducting operations off the Blue Ridge in Sagami Bay on Tuesday. On Thursday, Navy officials listed the Blue Ridge as underway in the North Pacific Ocean.
America, the flagship of the America Amphibious Ready Group with the embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, completed carrier qualifications with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 on Monday in the East China Sea.
This is a developing story and we’ll keep updating it.
Prine came to Navy Times after stints at the San Diego Union-Tribune and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He served in the Marine Corps and the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. His awards include the Joseph Galloway Award for Distinguished Reporting on the military, a first prize from Investigative Reporters & Editors and the Combat Infantryman Badge.