The Navy on Saturday declared five sailors deceased following a helicopter crash in the Pacific Ocean this week.
Search and rescue operations had been underway since the MH-60S Sea Hawk crashed into the sea Tuesday afternoon, about 60 nautical miles from San Diego, while operating off the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln.
The Navy is withholding the names of the deceased sailors for 24 hours, pending next-of-kin notification, according to U.S. 3rd Fleet.
One crewmember was rescued a few hours after the helicopter went down on Tuesday.
Abraham Lincoln, littoral combat ship Cincinnati, as well as helicopter units and Coast Guard assets are now conducting recovery operations, according to 3rd Fleet.
The helicopter, assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 8 and the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, was “operating on deck before crashing into the sea,” the command said Wednesday.
Officials have not yet released details explaining what the helicopter was doing before the accident.
Five sailors who were onboard Abraham Lincoln at the time of the crash also suffered injuries but are in stable condition, according to the command.
Two of those five were transported off the ship, while three had injuries that didn’t require evacuation, 3rd Fleet said Wednesday.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of five Sailors and those injured following the MH-60S helicopter tragedy off the coast of Southern California,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday said in a statement Saturday. “We stand alongside their families, loved ones, and shipmates who grieve.”
An investigation into the mishap is underway.
Correction: an earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the name of the helicopter. It is a Sea Hawk.
Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.