Navy Helicopter Plunges into Sea

( – All six crew members aboard a U.S. Navy helicopter survived after it crashed into the waters of San Diego Bay just after 6:30 p.m. Jan. 11.

According to Naval Air Force Pacific Fleet Cmdr. Beth Teach, the MH-60R Seahawk was participating in a training exercise when the crash occurred near the Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, across an inlet from San Diego. The statement said that a safety boat was on location because of “the nature of the training.” The U.S. Coast Guard and local fire department personnel also responded to the crash scene.

Federal Fire helped rescue the crew members, who underwent medical evaluations once they were onshore. According to Navy officials, none of the crew members suffered life-threatening injuries, and by 7 p.m. Jan. 13, they were all released from the hospital.

The helicopter was from the Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 41. Aircrews train on the MH-60R Seahawk at the Naval Air Station North Island, located on the Coronado peninsula. The primary helicopter used by the Navy for anti-submarine warfare, the MH-60R Seahawk is capable of performing a variety of other missions, such as search-and-rescue operations and reconnaissance.

On Jan. 12, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit THREE divers assessed the crash site and determined that the body of the aircraft was still intact and there was minimal debris. While it appeared there were no fuel leaks, the Navy put a fuel containment boom around the crash site Teach said.

After 10 hours, the MH-60R Seahawk was lifted onto a barge by a mobile diving and salvage company around noon on Jan. 13. The helicopter, found 15 feet deep in the water, was then taken to Naval Base Coronado.

Capt. Newt McKissick, Naval Base Coronado commanding officer, said he was “grateful the crew is safe” and thanked everyone involved in their rescue.

The crash is under investigation, according to Teach.

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