U.S. Navy helicopter crashes off coast of Southern California

Li Wei
2021-09-01 16:52:01

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- A U.S. Navy helicopter crashed Tuesday afternoon off the coast of San Diego, California, prompting search and rescue operations by sea and air, according to the U.S. Navy's 3rd Fleet.

"An MH-60S helicopter embarked aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) crashed into the sea while conducting routine flight operations approximately 60 nautical miles off the coast of San Diego at 4:30 p.m. PST, Aug. 31," the fleet's commander said in a statement.

The statement did not reveal how many people were on board and whether there were any casualties, saying "more information will be posted as it becomes available."

However, local ABC news channel reported later that a U.S. Coast Guard spokesman said preliminary information indicated that one person had been rescued and five people were still unaccounted for.

A reporter from local news channel CBS News 8 waiting outside the Navy base in San Diego said search and rescue operations continued into the night with U.S. Coast Guard and Navy "air and surface assets."

The Coast Guard put one of its helicopters in the air around 10:00 p.m. local time on Tuesday (0500 GMT on Wednesday), and said it would continue searching for about eight hours, the reporter said.

CVN 72 is the fifth Nimitz-class aircraft carrier in the Navy and a member of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. The battleship's home port is Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego.

The U.S. Pacific Fleet confirmed the crash on its official Twitter page Tuesday night, and updated information later, saying "one crew member has been rescued and search efforts continue for the other missing crewmembers."

The MH-60S is a versatile aircraft that typically carries a crew of four, and is used in missions including combat support, humanitarian disaster relief and search and rescue.

The incident came just 12 days after Capt. Amy Bauernschmidt took over command of CVN 72, becoming the first woman to lead a nuclear carrier in U.S. Navy history.


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