Friday, 13 March 2015

9 victims of Florida military helicopter accident identified, 2 still missing

According to reports the bodies of seven Marines and two soldiers have been recovered from the wreckage. The other two soldiers are feared dead.

After hours of searching up and down the foggy Florida coast for survivors, Military officials announced Thursday morning they would be transitioning their search and rescue operation into a recovery effort and safety investigation.

"At this point we are not hopeful for survivors," said Colonel Monte Cannon the 96 Test Wing Vice Commander at Eglin Air Force Base

Seven marines and four soldiers were aboard the helicopter when it crashed in the Santa Rosa Sound during a routine training mission. Rescuers found wreckage and human remains Thursday, and two bodies of soldiers were recovered.

The chopper was carrying four guardsmen and seven Marines when went it crashed

According to officials, the Louisiana National Guard and the U.S. Marine Corps were operating a nighttime training exercise when the helicopter, carrying four guardsmen and seven Marines, went down. Media reports say the night was heavy with a thick fog.

Nine bodies have been identified so far.

Local crews, like the Pace Fire District, have been helping military officials search the Santa Rosa Sound for any debris or human remains but heavy fog has made their job difficult.

"The biggest thing is the weather it's a hindrance to us with the fog our visibility is limited so we're going out in groups to make sure that the safety factor is there for the boats involved," said Robby Whitfield, Chief of the Pace Fire District.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation. The recording device, similar to a black box on an airplane, is still believed to be under water with the wreckage.

Military officials have not released any names of those aboard the Black Hawk that went down.

"We have retrieved remains. That's all I can say at this point. We have an armed service medical examiner out there right now and he's working that stuff," said Eglin Fire Chief Mark Giuliano.

Another helicopter accompanying the crashed Black Hawk during the training drill returned safely.

An investigation into the cause of the crash is currently under way.


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