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Families confirm identities of Marines in helicopter crash

By Daniel Uria   |   Jan. 16, 2016 at 11:35 AM

OAHU, Hawaii, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- Families confirmed the identities of some of the missing Marines involved in a helicopter collision over Hawaii on Thursday.

The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for 12 Marines who were reportedly on board two CH-53 helicopters when the aircrafts collided at 3 a.m. Thursday. The families of seven marines released statements providing identities of the supposed helicopter passengers.

One was Captain Kevin Roche, whose family released a statement hoping for his return and offering thanks for the report they received following the news.

"Captain Kevin Roche is a passionate Marine who loves his family and his country - and we love him," they said. "We believe the Marines and Coast Guard are doing everything they can to bring Kevin and his fellow Marines home safely and we are grateful to everyone involved in the rescue. Our family appreciates the prayers and encouragement we have received as we watch, wait and pray for Kevin's safe return."

Trina Hart, mother of Marine Ty Hart of Stayto, Ore., also told KATU that she and her family believe her son is alive and are seeking thoughts and prayers for his return. Hart had been married in Oregon six months ago.

Family of 24-year-old crew chief Sgt. Dillon Smonilina also asked for prayers in Minnesota.

KPRC also received reports from the families of two Houston marines, Maj. Shawn Campbell and Cpl. Matthew Drown.

Campbell is married with four children and was deployed to Iraq three times.

Drown's brother Shawn emailed KPRC saying, "He loved his family, friends and everyone he had the chance to meet. He never met a stranger and was always willing to help anyone he could. We are still hoping for his safe return home."

Family and friends said Capt. Steven Torbert and Sgt. Josh Turner, both from Alabama, were also aboard the helicopters.

The Marine Corps released a statement confirming the search.

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