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US Navy helicopter crashes into ocean off CA; search underway for 5 crew

An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Santiago Navarro)
September 01, 2021

A U.S. Navy helicopter crashed into the sea off the coast of California on Tuesday evening.

The helicopter, an MH-60S Sea Hawk, attached to the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) aircraft carrier, was conducting routine flight operations approximately 60 nautical miles (about 69 miles) off the coast of San Diego, when it went down at 4:30 p.m. PDT, according to the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

So far, one crewmember has been rescued, while search efforts continue for the remaining five crewmembers.

Multiple Coast Guard and Navy aircraft and surface vessels are participating in the ongoing search efforts.

In a Facebook post, the USS Abraham Lincoln said, “This afternoon an embarked helicopter crashed into the sea while conducting routine flight operations. We are actively conducting search and rescue operations at this time. We ask that you please respect the privacy of the families of our shipmates directly affected by this tragedy, and keep all of Lincoln Nation and our embarked shipmates in your thoughts and prayers during this incredibly difficult time.”

A map, shared by the open-source aviation and sea tracking account, Intel Air & Sea, shows where search helicopters are conducting their search and rescue efforts, in the waters south of the U.S.-Mexico border.

“6hrs on the SAR mission is continuing around the crash site of the US Navy MH-60,” Intel Air & Sea tweeted.

The USS Abraham Lincoln is currently is homeported in San Diego, Calif.

The MH-60S Sea Hawk is based on the same design as the U.S. Army’s UH-60 Black Hawk. The Sea Hawk is used in a variety of missions, including combat support, humanitarian disaster relief and search and rescue. A Sea Hawk’s typical crew consists of four crewmembers, though it has capacity for five additional passengers in its cabin.