The search for the missing five crew members of an Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter has expanded to 50 miles from the shore due to “swift and dynamic currents” in the area, Coast Guard officials said today.
Planes are scanning the leading edge today while helicopters and vessels are scouring the waters 15 to 20 miles offshore, they said in a news release.
The Coast Guard said search-and-rescue responders are continuing to recover debris off of Kaena Point.
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A command post has been set up at the Haleiwa Boat Harbor where the Coast Guard, Army and the Honolulu Fire Department are coordinating search efforts for the crew who was reported missing at about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters of the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade departed Wheeler Army Airfield Tuesday night for a routine night-training mission between Kaena Point and Dillingham Airfield. About 30 minutes into the training, the second helicopter lost radio and visual contact with the first helicopter.
The Coast Guard issued an urgent marine information broadcast and deployed assets after they received a call from Wheeler Army Airfield of the missing helicopter at about 10:08 p.m. Tuesday. More than an hour later, the Coast Guard and Army air crews spotted a debris field near Kaena Point.
A Honolulu Fire rescue boat crew recovered a piece of fuselage and a helmet and turned it over to the Army.
The Ocean Safety & Lifeguard Services Division and the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement used jet skis to conduct a near-shore water search for the missing crew.
Family members of the missing soldiers have been notified and are being updated on the ongoing search.