(Mirror Daily, United States) Military Officials reported that 12 marines are missing after two helicopters crashed in Ouahu Hawaii Island during a training mission which took place at night time.
The helicopters crashed into the ocean on Friday, January 15, more precisely late on Thursday just before midnight, about two miles away from the shore. The transport helicopters are known as CH-53Es and they belonged to the First Marine Aircraft Wing from the Kaneohe Bay Marine Corps Air Station. A couple of hours later a Coast Guard helicopter saw the debris from the crash. According to Marine Captain Timothy Irish the wreckage was scattered over a two-mile area.
The Coast Guard was actually notified by a civilian on the beach about the crash. The witness had noticed the aircraft flying and afterwards suddenly disappearing with a fireball. Somebody else reported a flare in the sky. Coast Guard Spokesman Lieutenant Scott Carr explained that it was not clear whether the fireball and the flare were the same incident.
A woman who lives across the street from the beach, Elaray Navarro, explained that she heard two explosions late on Thursday and said that they were so loud that they shook the house. She confessed that she first thought it was a car accident and she prays for the crew to be brought home safely.
When the helicopters did not return to the base as scheduled the Marines were alerted. The helicopters usually carry four crew members, but this flight carried a couple of instructors as well.
The search for the missing Marines was set back by the rain storms which brought about poor visibility and high surf. Sara Mooers, a spokeswoman for the Coast Guard explained that the rescue efforts continued throughout the night both on sea and air, in spite of the fact that the weather made the search difficult moving the debris all over the place.
The situation was difficult even for Honolulu Emergency Service Department whose lifeguards are accustomed to big waves and poor visibility. But according to Shayne Enright, a spokeswoman for the Honolulu Department they were hopeful to five survivors.
Commandant General Robert Neller from the Marine Corps posted a message on his Twitter regarding the unfortunate event:
Thoughts & prayers are with our Marines & their families in Hawaii as search efforts continue.”
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