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Published:February 17th, 2007 05:43 EST
Recovery Effort Underway for Sunken MH-60S Helicopter

Recovery Effort Underway for Sunken MH-60S Helicopter

By SOP newswire

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- A Navy salvage and recovery operation to bring up the wreckage of an MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter that crashed off the coast of California last month got underway Feb. 15.

The oceangoing fleet tug USNS Sioux (T-ATF-171), of the Military Sealift Command, departed Naval Base San Diego for the crash site, approximately 50 miles off the California coast in the vicinity of San Clemente Island.

A special undersea remotely operated vehicle, the Deep Drone 8000, which is specially configured to support salvage operations, will be launched from the Sioux and will aid Navy salvage crews in locating the wreckage.

The helicopter, assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23, crashed Jan. 26 with four crew members aboard. It was conducting routine training operations with Expeditionary Strike Group 5, embarked aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6).

The body of one Sailor was recovered near the scene of the mishap; the other three crew members were lost at sea.

The cause of the mishap is under investigation.

"It is important for the Navy to recover this aircraft to attempt to determine the mishap causal factors," said Capt. John Hardison, Commodore, Helicopter Sea Combat Wing Pacific. "We are also hopeful that in the course of recovering this aircraft that we can locate our three lost shipmates and provide some closure for their families."

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By Commander, Naval Air Forces Public Affairs