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Recovery Operations Continue at Helo Crash Site

NORFOLK -- The Navy resumed search and recovery operations Sunday when weather conditions improved at the crash site of the MH-53E that went down Jan. 8.

Dive operations were temporarily suspended Jan. 10 when it was determined that weather conditions had made it unsafe to continue diving at the site.

USNS Grasp (T-ARS 51) returned to the crash site in the afternoon Jan. 12 with divers from Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2 (MDSU 2) and patrol boats from Riverine Squadron 2 (RIVRON 2) to provide area security.

Sailors from MDSU 2 have expanded the search area and are using a Remus Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV) for high-resolution bottom mapping of the crash site. 

Five crew members were on board the MH-53E when it crashed Jan. 8 approximately 18 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach. Four of the crew members were rescued and taken to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital for treatment. Two crew members died at the hospital from their injuries. One crew member remains missing. The two other rescued crew members have both been released from the hospital. 

The crew members were all assigned to Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron 14 based at Norfolk Naval Station Chambers Field. They were flying an MH-53E "Sea Dragon" on a routine mine countermeasure training exercise when the accident happened. 

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Navy Accidents