Still no Sign of Survivors in Hawaii Military Helicopter Crash

Jan. 19, 2016
It is the fifth day in the search for survivors of the two military helicopters that apparently collided in midair.

As reported on AP News, teams searching the waters off Hawaii where two Marine helicopters crashed have had no luck so far in searching. They were conducting a routine training flight with 12 Marines aboard when they apparently collided Thursday just before midnight.

Three of the four life rafts aboard the helicopters have been recovered and efforts were being made to retrieve the fourth. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Sara Mooers said Monday that some of the rafts were inflated, but it was unclear how they got that way.

There is no indication that anyone was aboard the rafts, based on their condition and the lack of any personal effects, she said.

Monday was the fourth day of searching. Conditions have improved since the start of the search, with much smaller waves.

Various agencies have been searching above water, below water and along the shoreline since the Coast Guard was notified late Thursday by a civilian who saw the aircraft flying and then saw a fireball.

The Marines were alerted when the CH-53E helicopters carrying six crew members each failed to return to their base at Kaneohe Bay following a nighttime training mission. Hours later, a Coast Guard helicopter and C-130 airplane spotted debris 2 1/2 miles off of Oahu.

The Coast Guard assumes the best-case scenario when considering how long someone in the right equipment and right conditions could survive, she said.

"We err on the side of caution because the last thing that anybody wants is to suspend the search when there's still a possibility of finding somebody," she said.

Marine Capt. Timothy Irish said Monday that aircrews wear personal flotation devices with their flight suits and get additional training on top of survival swimming training. There are various ways that life rafts could be inflated, including a cord being pulled by debris, he said.

Mooers said people have been founds days or even weeks after they've been at sea.

Copyright 2016 – The Associated Press