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Coast Guard suspends search for missing Marines in Hawaii helicopter crash

By Amy R. Connolly
Coast Guard suspends search for missing Marines in Hawaii helicopter crash
Marines search a Turtle Bay in Kahuku, Hawaii, for missing airmen after their helicopters went down along the North Shore of Oahu on Thursday. Photo by U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Levi/Facebook

HONOLULU, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- The U.S. Coast Guard suspended the search for 12 Marines missing after their two military helicopters collided off the Hawaiian shore.

"A decision to suspend searching without finding survivors is extremely difficult given the depth of its impact and I know I speak for the entire Coast Guard when I say our thoughts and prayers are with Marine Corps helicopter squadron and particularly with families and loved ones of those missing," said Capt. Jim Jenkins, chief of staff and acting commander, Coast Guard 14th District.

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The Coast Guard, and agencies that include the Navy, Army, the National Guard, the Hawaii Fire, Police and Ocean Safety, worked for nearly a week searching 40,530 square nautical miles plus surrounding beaches for signs of the missing airmen. In total, 130 people were involved in the 115 hours of searching, the Coast Guard said.

The Marines had been conducting a routine training mission about 10:40 p.m. Thursday when their two CH-53 helicopters collided. Witnesses described a fireball in the sky.

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Tuesday was the fifth full day of searching. All four life rafts from two helicopters and other debris were found in the water and on beaches. No bodies were discovered.

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The Marines range in age from 21 to 41. A memorial service was planned for Friday.

The Marines identified the missing airmen:

Maj. Shawn M. Campbell, 41, College Station, Texas

Cpl. Matthew R. Drown, 23, Spring, Texas

Lance Cpl. Ty L. Hart, 21, Aumsville, Ore.

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Cpl. Thomas J. Jardas, 22, Fort Myers, Fla.

Capt. Brian T. Kennedy, 31, Philadelphia

Cpl. Christopher J. Orlando, 23, Hingham, Mass.

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Capt. Kevin T. Roche, 30, St. Louis

Sgt. Dillon J. Semolina, 24, Chaska, Minn.

Sgt. Adam C. Schoeller, 25, Gardners, Pa.

Sgt. Jeffrey A. Sempler, 22, Woodruff, S.C.

Capt. Steven R. Torbert, 29, Florence, Ala.

Sgt. William J. Turner, 25, Florala, Ala.

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