Search-and-Rescue for Overboard Sailor Enters 2nd Day

An HH-60H Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to the Sea Knights of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 22 passes the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60) during a replenishment-at-sea. (Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Anna Van Nuys)
An HH-60H Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to the Sea Knights of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 22 passes the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60) during a replenishment-at-sea. (Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Anna Van Nuys)

Ships and aircraft continued to search Wednesday for a sailor from the guided-missile cruiser Normandy who went overboard off the coast of North Carolina on Tuesday afternoon.

The Normandy, part of the Eisenhower carrier strike group, had been conducting independent training about 80 nautical miles off the coast when the sailor went overboard, a spokesman for Fleet Forces Command, Lt. Cmdr. Brian Wierzbicki, told Military.com in a statement.

It's not clear if weather played a part in the sailor going overboard, and Wierzbicki said he had no information to release about the sea state at the time. On Wednesday, a small craft advisory was issued by the National Weather Service, covering coastal waters from Surf City to Cape Fear, North Carolina, and extending out 20 nautical miles.

The advisory warned that winds of up to 20 knots and seas of up to 4 to 6 feet could produce hazardous conditions for smaller boats.

The search-and-rescue effort is ongoing with help from a small armada of Navy and Coast Guard craft. Aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, newly out of maintenance; Coast Guard medium endurance cutter Forward; and Arleigh Burke-class destroyers Bainbridge, The Sullivans, and Mason are in the area to help Normandy with search efforts.

Navy fixed and rotary aircraft are also assisting, though Wierzbicki could not say which platforms and which squadrons were part of the effort.

"The sailor's next of kin has been made aware of the incident and is being provided updates on the ongoing search-and-rescue operation," Wierzbicki said in a statement.

"Command leadership is in contact with Normandy families to make them aware of the incident as well," he added. "Our thoughts remain with the Normandy family, and we will continue to provide updates as they become available."

-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at hope.seck@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at@HopeSeck.

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