CARIBBEAN SEA -- A Panamanian helicopter crashed killing one and injuring eight while working together with USS Halyburton (FFG 40) conducting operations in support of Operation Martillo in the 4th Fleet area of operations, Feb. 6.
The names of the victims will not be released until after notification of the next of kin and released by the Panamanian authorities. There were no U.S. servicemembers or personnel hurt in this incident.
The Panamanian helicopter, a Bell 412, had arrived in the vicinity of the beached small craft and assumed monitoring activities from the U.S. helicopter when it crashed with nine people onboard.
The Halyburton, a guided-missile frigate, immediately assumed the role of search and rescue on-scene commander. While Cutlass 466, the MH-60R attached to the Halyburton from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 46, returned to the area to begin search and rescue operations.
Halyburton's helicopter Cutlass 466 transported six of the wounded to a hospital in Panama, while Panamanian forces rescued and are transporting the other two survivors.
Halyburton is currently deployed in the Caribbean Sea conducting counter illicit trafficking operations in support of Operation Martillo.
Operation Martillo targets illicit trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus, and is an international, interagency operation which includes the participation of 14 countries committed to a regional approach against transnational criminal organizations moving illicit cargo.
This deployment is Halyburton's last deployment in her 30-year career, as she is scheduled to decommission later this year. Her keel was laid Sept. 26, 1980 and she was commissioned Jan. 7, 1984. She is named for Petty Officer 2nd Class William David Halyburton, a pharmacist's mate, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for extraordinary heroism, May 10, 1945, while serving with the Marine Rifle Company, Second Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division on Okinawa.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet supports U.S. Southern Command's joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations in order to maintain access, enhance interoperability, and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.