The Navy declares 5 lacking sailors useless after a helicopter crash: NPR

SAN DIEGO – The US Navy pronounced five missing sailors dead days after a helicopter crashed in the Pacific Ocean and shifted the search for them to a salvage on Saturday.

The move followed more than 72 hours of coordinated rescue efforts and nearly three dozen search and rescue flights to search for the wreck, the Navy’s Pacific Fleet said in a statement Saturday.

The names of the sailors were withheld until their immediate family was notified.

Five other sailors were also injured on Tuesday while aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, on which the MH-60S helicopter was operating on deck prior to the crash.

They were in stable condition on Saturday, Lt. Samuel R. Boyle, a Pacific Fleet spokesman.

An investigation into the cause of the crash about 112 kilometers from San Diego is underway, but the fact that sailors were injured aboard the carrier raises the question of whether the helicopter or parts of it hit the Lincoln. When helicopters take off and land on the ship, ground staff on the carrier and other people working on deck are nearby.

The helicopter crashed during a routine flight operation described by the Navy.

The MH-60S helicopter usually carries a crew of around four people and is used in missions such as combat support, humanitarian disaster relief and search and rescue missions.

The aircraft belongs to the Sea Combat Squadron 8 helicopter.

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