The Navy has begun a deep-sea search for the crew of a downed helicopter.
This week, the US Navy began a deep-sea search for the wreckage of an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter and five sailors who perished after the plane crashed into waters off the coast of San Diego on Aug. 31.
According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, the utility helicopter is estimated to be 4,000 to 6,000 feet deep on the sea floor by the Navy’s 3rd Fleet in San Diego.
The Navy had to bring in the appropriate equipment from all around the country to search at that depth, which caused the recovery operations to be delayed.
The depth and distance from shore make this a difficult operation, according to Lt. Sam Boyle, a 3rd Fleet spokesperson.
According to the Navy Times, the Naval Sea Systems Command Supervisor of Salvage and Diving arrived this week in the location where the helicopter’s wreckage is expected to be.
The recovery equipment can search up to 7,000 feet below the surface of the water and has previously recovered a downed helicopter from a depth of almost 19,000 feet.
The MH-60S Sea Hawk chopper crashed about 60 nautical miles off the coast of San Diego while doing drills with the USS Abraham Lincoln.
The aircraft experienced side-to-side tremors upon landing, according to the Navy, before the main rotor spun onto the flight deck. The helicopter then overturned and crashed into the water.
The crash claimed the lives of only one of the six sailors on board. Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 8 was assigned to them.
On Wednesday, the Dominator, a contracted merchant ship, departed Naval Air Station North Island to begin recovery operations. Personnel from the Navy’s Supervisor of Salvage and Diving, which is part of the service’s Sea Surface Command, were aboard the ship.
The Navy has a rough estimate of where the chopper plunged into the ocean, but no wreckage has been found, according to Boyle of the Union-Tribune.
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