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Navy helicopter crew OK after crash during search mission

RENO, Nev. (AP) — A Navy MH-60 Knighthawk helicopter crashed near Mt. Hogue, California around 5 p.m. on July 16, while conducting search and rescue operations, according to a Navy media release. All four crewmembers survived the crash without injury and have been safely recovered.

The crew on the Navy helicopter survived the crash along the California-Nevada line and were rescued the next day, and the missing Sierra hiker they were looking for was found safe over the weekend.

The helicopter crew escaped injury but had to spend Friday night in the rugged wilderness before they were rescued Saturday from a mountain ridge on the state line east of Yosemite National Park about 120 miles (193 kilometers) south of Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada, authorities said.

The aircraft, call sign Longhorn 02, was supporting Mono County search and rescue efforts to locate a lost hiker in the rugged high-altitude terrain in the National Forest south of Boundary Peak, 120 miles south of NAS Fallon. The aircrew consists of four personnel — a pilot, co-pilot, and two crewmen.

The Navy is investigating the cause of the crash reported at about 5 p.m. Friday, Navy spokesman Zip Upham said. The Navy MH-60 Knighthawk had been supporting a Mono County search for a lost hiker near Boundary Peak in the Inyo National Forest.

The crash site is at 11,700 feet above sea level, in very rugged terrain, according to the Navy media release.

“The crew were able to communicate following the impact, but a follow-on helicopter mission launched Friday evening from NAS Fallon was unable to retrieve them,” the release stated. “An overnight kit was dropped to the survivors, who spent the night on mountain.”

According to the Navy:

On Saturday morning,anotherl MH-60, call sign Longhorn 01, launched from NAS Fallon, and provided on-scene coordination, but could not make the rescue, according to the Navy. A CH-47 Chinook from Mather Air Force Base was called in because of its superior high-altitude performance abilities. It dropped off a ground search and rescue team that met up with the survivors while the CH-47 returned to Mammoth Lakes for fuel. The Chinook returned to the scene, and at approximately 2 p.m., the crew of Longhorn 02 was safely recovered aboard the CH-47.

Ronald Bolen, an Oklahoma University professor who had been the target of a search since he was reported missing last week on a trail to Boundary Peak, was found by hikers late Saturday or Sunday in good condition and transported to safety for medical treatment, the Mono County sheriff’s office said.

A family member told the Reno Gazette Journal that Bolen was dehydrated but otherwise in good shape.

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