2 dead after Navy helicopter ditches in Atlantic

NORFOLK, Va., Jan. 8 (UPI) -- Two crew members died and a third was missing Wednesday after a Navy helicopter went down in the Atlantic Ocean off Virginia's coast, officials said.

Two other crew members were hospitalized, one in serious condition and the other fair, the Navy Times reported.


The fatal incident occurred about 20 miles east of Cape Henry when the MH-53E Sea Dragon made an emergency landing in 42-degree waters during a training mission, the (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot said.

Virginia Beach Fire Department boats found the helicopter tail section and fuselage using side-scan radar, the Times said. A diving and salvage unit was on the scene.

Navy Cmdr. Mike Kafka said earlier four crew members had been taken to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.

The crew members' names had not been released.

Kafka said the helicopter that went down was one of two MH-53 Sea Dragons from the HM-14 helicopter squadron based at Norfolk Naval Station. It made the emergency landing after making a distress call about 10:45 a.m. and two crew members made their way into a raft dropped by the second aircraft.

All four crew members were lifted into Navy helicopters within an hour of the crash.


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