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Navy identifies five sailors killed in helicopter crash

By Allen Cone
Navy identifies five sailors killed in helicopter crash
The Navy said the MH-60S chopper, similar to this one, was operating off the USS Abraham Lincoln when it went into the water about 60 nautical miles off San Diego, Calif. File Photo by Specialist 3rd Class Shawn J. Stewart/U.S. Navy/UPI

Sept. 5 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy on Sunday identified the five sailors who went missing and are presumed dead when their military helicopter crashed off the San Diego coast on Tuesday.

On Saturday, the Navy announced that the sailors, assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 8, were presumed dead. They were conducting routine flight operations from the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier when their MH-60S helicopter crashed into the sea Tuesday approximately 60 nautical miles off the coast of San Diego.

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The helicopter had six people aboard during the crash -- one of the sailors was rescued.

Killed were: Lt. Bradley A. Foster, 29, a pilot from Oakhurst, Calif.; Lt. Paul R. Fridley, 28, a pilot from Annandale, Va.; Naval Air Crewman (Helicopter) 2nd Class James P. Buriak, 31, from Salem, Va.; Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Sarah F. Burns, 31, from Severna Park, Md.; and Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Bailey J. Tucker, 21, from St. Louis.

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The statement said fleet commanders have now shifted from search and rescue efforts to recovery operations after searching for the sailors for more than 72 hours.

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The effort included 34 search and rescue flights over 170 hours of flight time. The Coast Guard District 11, Abraham Lincoln, USS Cincinnati, U.S. Pacific Fleet Helicopter Sea Combat Wing helicopter squadrons and Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing were each involved in the search.

An investigation is still ongoing, military officials said.

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The crash occurred from the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, the Navy said,.

The rescued sailor and two others aboard carrier when they were injured were taken ashore for medical care. Another three crew members also suffered minor injuries and remained on the vessel.

The helicopter "was operating on deck before crashing into the sea," and didn't confirm whether it was attempting a takeoff or landing.

UPI writer Sommer Brokaw contributed to this report.

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