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Navy declares 5 missing crew members deceased after helicopter crash off coast of California, shifts to recovery mission

The Navy has shifted from search and rescue efforts to recovery operations on Saturday after more than 72 hours of searching 60 miles off the CA coast.

SAN DIEGO —

The U.S. Navy released a statement Saturday stating that the five missing crew members of an MH-60S helicopter crash have been declared deceased and the efforts have shifted from search and rescue to recovery operations.

In accordance with Navy policy, the identities of the Sailors will be withheld until 24 hours after their next of kin have been notified.

According to the Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, the "transition from search and rescue efforts to recovery operations comes after more than 72 hours of coordinated rescue efforts encompassing 34 search and rescue flights, over 170 hours of flight time, with five search helicopters and constant surface vessel search."

Background

A U.S. Navy helicopter with the USS Abraham Lincoln crashed about 60 nautical miles off the coast of San Diego while "conducting routine flight operations," at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 31, according to officials.

Five crewmembers were unaccounted for during the crash which prompted an immediate search and rescue mission with the Navy and Coast Guard that went on for multiple days.

On Wednesday, the navy released details that the aircraft was operating on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln before crashing into the sea.

The U.S. Pacific Fleet reported that one person was rescued Tuesday night. The rescued sailor and two other crew members who were hurt in the accident while engaging in duties aboard the San Diego-based aircraft carrier were taken ashore for medical care in stable condition. Three other personnel suffered minor injuries on the ship and remained aboard, officials said.  

While the investigation is underway as to what caused the crash, comments have flooded the USS Abraham Lincoln's page on Facebook.  

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