US Navy Helicopter Crashes Off San Diego Coast

One crew member was rescued while five are still missing.
Ameya Paleja
A file photo of a MH-60 S aircraftU.S. Department of Defense/Wikimedia Commons

A US Navy helicopter crashed 60 miles (96 km) off the San Diego coast during routine operations, U.S. Third Fleet said in a statement. Search and rescue operations continue. 

The incident occurred at 4:30 pm PST on Aug 31st, when the MH-60S helicopter, aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), was conducting routine operations. Six members are reported to be on board the aircraft that crashed. 

The MH-60S is a member of the Sikorsky S-70 family of helicopters, redesigned for naval warfare. it features folding rotors and a hinged tail to occupy lesser space on a naval ship. At sea, the aircraft is involved in combat support, search and rescue operations, medical evacuation, and airborne mine countermeasures. 

One member of the crew has been rescued while the Coast Guard and Navy are working together to search and rescue the remaining crew members. Air and surface assets have also been deployed in the rescue operations that are expected to continue into the night, CNN reported

In 2009, an HH-60 helicopter with five crew members that took off from USS Nimitz also crashed off the San Diego coast while a similar accident in 2007 killed all five crew members on board. 

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According to a Slate article, search and rescue operations use a Survivability Model that plugs in a lot of factors such as air temperature, water temperature, clothes worn, access to floating devices, height and weight of the individuals etc. to calculate how long a person might survive in the sea. 

Methods of search include zig-zag movement of planes to cover a large area and the use of underwater divers to scan the area. The search and rescue operation tries to sweep a wide area ad multiple scans of the area to increase the likelihood of detection. 

This is a developing story and will be regularly updated as new information becomes available.

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