Search underway after Marine helicopter crash off Hawaii coast

HALEIWA, Hawaii -- Rescuers continued to search choppy waters where debris was sighted after two Marine Corps helicopters carrying six crew members each crashed off the Hawaiian island of Oahu during a nighttime training mission, military officials said.

See Full Article

There was no immediate word Friday on the fate of those aboard or what caused the accident. The transport helicopters known as CH-53Es crashed late Thursday, officials said.

Hours later, a Coast Guard helicopter and C-130 airplane spotted debris 2 1/2 miles (four kilometres) offshore. The wreckage was strewn over a two-mile (3.2-kilometre) area, Marine Capt. Timothy Irish said.

The choppers were part of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing at Marine Corps Base Hawaii. Known as Super Stallions, they are the U.S. military's largest helicopter, capable of carrying a light armoured vehicle, 16 tons of cargo or a team of combat-equipped Marines, according to a Marine Corps website.

Elaray Navarro, a retiree who lives across the street from the beach, said she heard two booms late Thursday that were loud enough to shake her house. She expressed concern for the crew as she watched the pounding surf from Haleiwa.

"I pray to the man upstairs to help them. To bring them home safely," she said.

The Coast Guard was notified of the crash by a civilian on a beach who saw the aircraft flying then disappear and a fireball. Another person reported a flare in the sky, Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Scott Carr said.

It was not clear if the fireball and the flare were the same, he said.

The Marines were alerted when the helicopters failed to return to their base at Kaneohe Bay as scheduled, Irish said.

The Coast Guard initially reported that the choppers had collided, but Irish said Friday that he did not know if the accident was a collision.

The helicopters normally carry four crew members, but this particular flight also carried one or two instructor trainers, Irish said. He did not know if they were teaching the crew or just observing.

The search included Air Force units as well as a Honolulu Fire Department rescue boat and Coast Guard cutters.

Two Navy ships were also participating with a Navy squadron of SH-60 helicopters.

Rough weather was making the search difficult, with winds blowing up to 23 mph (37 kph)and breaking surf up to 30 feet (nine meters).

"That is moving that debris all over the place," Carr said. "It makes finding things incredibly difficult."

Even Honolulu lifeguards accustomed to big waves weren't able to search for long with poor morning visibility.

"We are now back in the water, and we are searching," Honolulu Emergency Services Department spokeswoman Shayne Enright said. "We're very hopeful that we will still find possible survivors out there."

About two dozen Marines were seen walking up and down the beach at Waimea Bay, a popular surfing spot a few miles from the rescue operation. They appeared to be searching the area. One used binoculars to look out to sea.

The Coast Guard was keeping people out of a wide zone that spanned about 30 miles of shoreline, from Kaena Point to Kahuku Point, citing danger from debris. The zone extended from the shore to 8 miles off the coast.

Associated Press writers Caleb Jones, Audrey McAvoy and Jennifer Kelleher in Honolulu, Greg Keller at Waimea Bay, Bob Lentz in Philadelphia, Mark Thiessen in Anchorage, Alaska, and Lisa Baumann in Seattle contributed to this report.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Nearly 50,000 people flee area surrounding Bali volcano

    World News CTV News
    BALI, Indonesia - Nearly 50,000 people have fled the Mount Agung volcano on the Indonesian tourist island of Bali, fearing an imminent eruption as dozens of tremors rattle the surrounding region, officials said Monday. Waskita Sutadewa, spokesman for the disaster mitigation agency in Bali, said people have scattered to all corners of the island and some have crossed to the neighbouring island of Lombok. Source
  • Trump replaces travel ban with new restrictions

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON – U.S. President Donald Trump has signed a proclamation imposing strict new restrictions on travellers from a handful of countries, including five that were covered by his expiring travel ban. Administration officials say the new measures are required to keep the nation safe. Source
  • Highway of Tears walk to wrap up in B.C., ahead of MMIW inquiry

    Canada News CTV News
    SMITHERS, B.C. - A group of family members and advocates of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls will walk along the so-called Highway of Tears today into a small British Columbia community where a national inquiry is set to hold hearings. Source
  • Tennessee church shooting suspect charged with murder

    World News CTV News
    NASHVILLE - Witnesses and police described a chaotic scene as a masked attacker armed with two guns shot seven people, killing one, in a Tennessee church before he was subdued. The church pastor yelled for the congregants to run after the attacker came through the church silently shooting, according to a witness Sunday in a Nashville neighbourhood. Source
  • Myanmar police blame insurgents for the deaths of 28 Hindu women, boys

    World News CTV News
    YANGON, Myanmar - Myanmar police said Monday that they have discovered at least 28 slain Hindu women and boys in two mass graves in the Southeast Asian country's conflict-torn northern Rakhine state. The government blames Muslim insurgents for the killings. Source
  • Merkel faces tough task to build Germany government

    World News CTV News
    BERLIN - German Chancellor Angela Merkel is embarking on a complicated quest to form a new government and find answers to the rise of a nationalist, anti-migrant party. Sunday's election in Europe's biggest economy left Merkel's conservative Union bloc weakened after a campaign that focused squarely on Germany's leader of the past 12 years. Source
  • Iraqi Kurds head to polls for independence referendum

    World News CTV News
    IRBIL, Iraq - Polls have opened in Iraq's Kurdish-run provinces and disputed territories as Iraqi Kurds cast ballots in support for independence from Baghdad in a historic but non-binding vote. Millions are expected to vote on Monday across the three provinces that make up the Kurdish autonomous region, as well as residents in disputed territories - areas claimed by both Baghdad and the Kurds, including the oil-rich city of Kirkuk. Source
  • Searchers dig as Mexico City reopens just 1% of schools after earthquake

    World News CBC News
    Search teams are still digging in dangerous piles of rubble hoping against the odds to find survivors at collapsed buildings, while officials say they have so far cleared only 103 of Mexico City's nearly 9,000 schools to reopen Monday. Source
  • Catholic church to investigate cases of children of priests

    World News CTV News
    VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis' committee of advisers on protecting children from sexually abusive priests is expanding its workload to include the needs and rights of children fathered by Roman Catholic priests. Committee members told The Associated Press on Sunday that a working group is looking into developing guidelines that can be used by dioceses around the world to ensure that children born to priests are adequately cared for. Source
  • Convicted Craigslist killer appeals death sentence

    World News CTV News
    AKRON, Ohio - A man convicted of killing three down-and-out men lured by bogus Craigslist job offers is appealing his death sentence to Ohio's highest court. The Akron Beacon Journal reports the Ohio Supreme Court will hear the appeal of 58-year-old Richard Beasley Tuesday morning. Source