Navy Recovers Remains of 5 Sailors Killed in Helicopter Crash Off San Diego

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Photo collage of the five sailors killed when an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter crashed
Photo collage of the five sailors killed when an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter, assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 8, crashed approximately 60 nautical miles off the coast of San Diego, Aug. 31, 2021. Sailors shown are, top left moving clockwise: Lt. Bradley A. Foster, Lt. Paul R. Fridley, Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Bailey J. Tucker, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Sarah F. Burns, Naval Air Crewman (Helicopter) 2nd Class James P. Buriak. (U.S. Navy)

The Navy recovered the remains of five sailors and their MH-60S Seahawk off the southern California coast on Tuesday after the helicopter crashed off the deck of the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln on Aug. 31.

In a statement released Tuesday, the service said it recovered the lost aircraft Oct. 8 from a depth of about 5,300 feet with the help of a salvage and dive team from Naval Sea Systems Command.

The helicopter had just landed on the carrier when it "experienced side-to-side vibrations" that caused the "main rotor to strike [the] flight deck." The aircraft then "fell over" the side of the ship, according to the Naval Safety Center.

The incident claimed the lives of five sailors aboard the helicopter and injured five more aboard the carrier. One helicopter crew member was rescued at the time of the incident.

Along with the wreckage, the Navy said it recovered five sets of human remains that were transferred to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware for identification.

The service previously identified the five sailors who died as Lt. Bradley A. Foster, 29, a pilot from Oakhurst, California; Lt. Paul R. Fridley, 28, a pilot from Annandale, Virginia; Naval Air Crewman (Helicopter) 2nd Class James P. Buriak, 31, from Salem, Virginia; Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Sarah F. Burns, 31, from Severna Park, Maryland; and Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Bailey J. Tucker, 21, from St. Louis, Missouri.

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Both the wreckage and remains arrived at Naval Air Station North Island, California, on Sunday aboard the salvage ship HOS Bayou, according to the statement.

The incident is one of 12 "class-A mishaps'' this year, Naval Safety Center data show. Class A denotes the most severe kind of incident, one that causes a fatality or permanent total disability, more than $2.5 million in damages, or destroys an aircraft.

An investigation into the crash is ongoing.

-- Konstantin Toropin can be reached at konstantin.toropin@military.com. Follow him on Twitter @ktoropin.

Related: Navy Helicopter Rotor Struck Carrier Deck, Causing Crash That Killed Five

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