Navy declares five dead after helicopter crash off California coast

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Five US Navy sailors were declared dead after they disappeared following a helicopter crash off the California coast, the US 3rd fleet said in a news release.

The MH-60S helicopter took off from the USS Abraham Lincoln and crashed into the ocean on Tuesday afternoon while “conducting routine flight operations approximately 60 nautical miles off the coast of San Diego”, the fleet said.

The Navy on Saturday shifted operations from search and rescue to recovery, following more than 72 hours of coordinated rescue efforts.

The Navy identified the five sailors on Sunday as Lt. Bradley Foster of California, Lt. Paul Fridley of Virginia, Naval Air Crewman 2nd Class James Buriak of Virginia, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Sarah Burns of Maryland, and Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Bailey Tucker of Missouri.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of five Sailors and those injured following the MH-60S helicopter tragedy off the coast of Southern California,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday said in a statement. “We stand alongside their families, loved ones, and shipmates who grieve.”

The Navy said the incident is under investigation.

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