Rescuers battled waves up to 30 feet Saturday as they searched for 12 Marines who are missing after two helicopters crashed off the Hawaiian island of Oahu.
On Saturday evening, the U.S. Marine Corps released the names of the missing officers.
Among the missing are Maj. Shawn M. Campbell, from College Station, Texas; Capt. Brian T. Kennedy, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Capt. Kevin T. Roche, from St. Louis, Missouri; and Capt. Steven R. Torbert, from Florence, Alabama.
Sgt. Dillon J. Semolina, from Chaska, Minnesota; and Sgt. Adam C. Schoeller, from Gardners, Pennsylvania; Sgt. Jeffrey A. Sempler, from Woodruff, South Carolina; and Sgt. William J. Turner, from Florala, Alabama, are missing too.
Also missing are Cpl. Matthew R. Drown, from, Spring, Texas; Cpl. Thomas J. Jardas, from Fort Myers, Florida; and Cpl. Christopher J. Orlando, from Hingham, Massachusetts.
Scroll down for video
Chris Orlando, from Hingham, Massachusetts, has been identified as one of 12 Marines missing after two two helicopters crashed off the Hawaiian island of Oahu
Dillon Semolina, of Delano, Minnesota, was third in command on one of the helicopters
Semolina’s family have since set up a GoFundMe page in order to help his parents, who are desperate to get to Hawaii as fast as possible as the search for their 24-year-old son continues
The waves dispersed the debris and complicated the search, which was expanded to include waters off Oahu’s west coast. ‘It makes finding things incredibly difficult,’ Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Scott Carr said.
Winds died down to about 10 mph, but the National Weather Service said a high surf warning would remain in effect through Sunday morning.
The Coast Guard was notified late Thursday of the crash by a civilian who saw the aircraft flying then disappear and a fireball. Someone else reported a flare in the sky, Carr said. It was not clear if the fireball and the flare were the same.
The Marines were alerted when the CH-53E helicopters carrying six crew members each failed to return to their base at Kaneohe Bay following a nighttime training mission. Hours later, a Coast Guard helicopter and C-130 airplane spotted debris 2 1/2 miles off of Oahu.
A Navy P-3 airplane was scouring the ocean, along with helicopters from the Coast Guard, Army, Navy and Honolulu police and fire departments. Two Navy warships and two Coast Guard cutters were on the scene. Honolulu lifeguards on personal watercraft were also looking.
The Coast Guard was keeping people out of a wide zone that spanned about 30 miles of shoreline, citing danger from debris. The zone extended from the shore to 8 miles off the coast.
National Weather Service meteorologist Derek Wroe said Saturday that the surf peaked Friday afternoon and was slowly declining.
A storm about 1,500 miles to the north and northwest of Oahu was sending large swells to the islands, he said.
The transport helicopters were part of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing at Marine Corps Base Hawaii. Known as Super Stallions, they are the U.S. military’s largest helicopter, capable of carrying a light armored vehicle, 16 tons of cargo or a team of combat-equipped Marines, according to a Marine Corps website.
The Coast Guard initially reported that the choppers had collided, but Marine Capt. Timothy Irish said Friday that he did not know if the accident was a collision.
Ty Heart (pictured here with his wife) was one of the first missing Marines to be identified
The helicopters normally carry four crew members, but this particular flight also carried one or two instructor trainers, Irish said. He did not know if they were teaching the crew or just observing.
The family of Cpl. Christopher Orlando of Hingham, Massachusetts, said it was grateful for people’s prayers. ‘We continue to monitor the ongoing search effort in Hawaii and are thankful for the hard work of the many federal and local heroes undertaking this search and rescue mission,’ the family said in a statement released by the Massachusetts State Police.
Ty Hart, a 21-year-old from Oregon, was in one of the helicopters, the Oregonian reported Friday night. The newspaper said Hart lives on base in Hawaii with his wife.
Hart’s former high school football coach and teacher, Alan Kirby, described Hart as a positive kid who always had a smile on his face and called him a quick learner on the gridiron.
The family of Capt. Kevin Roche believes he was one of the Marines aboard the helicopters.
‘We believe the Marines and Coast Guard are doing everything they can to bring Kevin and his fellow Marines home safely, and we are grateful to everyone involved in the rescue,’ said a family statement distributed by brother-in-law Anthony Kuenzel in St. Louis.
Semolina, 24, was third in command on one of the helicopters, his father Mike De la Cruz, a retired Marine, told Fox 9.
De la Cruz said Semolina’s crew took off at 10.40pm and was supposed to return to the base at 11.45pm.
Semolina’s family have since set up a GoFundMe page in order to help his parents, who are desperate to get to Hawaii as fast as possible as the search for their son continues.
Chris Orlando was identified as one of the missing Marines by a friend. Orlando’s mother is a retired Massachusetts State Trooper, police told FOX25.
Capt. Roche was described his family as a ‘passionate Marine’ and said they are praying for his safe return.
‘We believe the Marines and Coast Guard are doing everything they can to bring Kevin and his fellow Marines home safely,’ the family said in a statement.
Family: It is unknown whether Ty Hart, pictured here with family, survived the crash or if any others on board the plane are still alive
Houston natives Matthew Drown (pictured left) and Maj. Shawn Campbell (pictured right), 41, were also on the helicopters during the crash
Drown (pictured center) joined the Marines shortly after graduating high school
‘We are grateful to everyone involved in the rescue.’
Roche’s identity was revealed to CNN by brother-in-law Anthony Kuenzel.
It was revealed on Friday that missing Marine Ty Hart, 21, had married his high school sweetheart just six months ago and enlisted in 2013.
Hart’s wife Hannah lives on the base with him in Hawaii, according to OregonLive.com.
Maj. Shawn Campbell, 41, is a married father of four who lived in Hawaii with his family and has done three tours of duty in the Middle East.
His family said he was flying one of the helicopters, according to KHOU.
Fellow Texas native Cpl. Drown, 23, has been in the Marines for five years and joined shortly after graduating high school.
U.S. Marines walk on the beach at Waimea Bay near Haleiwa, Hawaii, where two military helicopters crashed into the ocean about 2 miles offshore
Poor weather conditions continued to hamper the search as the US Coast Guard and Navy, as well as the Honolulu Fire Department, joined forces on Friday in the hunt for survivors
The Marines were alerted when the CH-53E helicopters carrying six crew members each failed to return to their base at Kaneohe Bay following a nighttime training mission
Poor weather conditions hampered the search as the US Coast Guard and Navy, as well as the Honolulu Fire Department, joined forces on Friday in the hunt for survivors.
‘The weather is making it very difficult,’ a Coast Guard spokesman said. ‘It is very difficult to find things right now. Our goal is to find survivors.’
Surf rose to 40 feet on Friday and the Coast Guard said visibility only extended to one mile.
Coast Guard Lt. Scott Carr told Daily Mail Online that they have observed a debris field during the search and rescue mission.
Hawaii News Now reported fire and an empty life raft were also spotted.
Wreckage was reportedly strewn over a 2-mile area.
In a press release Friday, the Marine Corps urged residents of Oahu not to touch any debris floating into shore from the crashed helicopters.
Coast Guard Lt. Scott Carr told Daily Mail Online that they have observed a debris field during the search and rescue mission
In a press release Friday, the Marine Corps urged residents of Oahu not to touch any debris floating into shore from the crashed helicopters
The report of the downed aircraft came in at 11:38pm Thursday.
Elaray Navarro, a retiree who lives across the street from the beach, said she heard two booms late Thursday that were loud enough to shake her house.
‘I threw my blanket off, put my slippers on and ran outside thinking it was a car accident,’ she said.
She expressed concern for the crew as she watched the pounding surf from Haleiwa.
‘I pray to the man upstairs to help them. To bring them home safely,’ she said.
The aircraft involved were of the model CH-53, also known as Sea Stallions, according to a tweet posted by the Marines.
Two CH-53D helicopters approach a landing zone during an exercise in Oahu, Hawaii, in 2004. Two helicopters of the same model were involved in the crash, the Coast Guard reported
Military officials and Honolulu Police Department officers talk at a beach park where search and rescue officials are meeting in Haleiwa, Hawaii
The helicopters were from the Marine Corps Base Hawaii near Honolulu, the Marine Corps said.
The Marine Corps said the aircraft were from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463, Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Military Aircraft Wing in Hawaii.
On Friday afternoon, Marine Corps Base Hawaii announced it had set up a center for counseling, support and childcare for the families of the missing Marines.
The incident comes less than a year after the Marine Corps’ new hybridized airplane-and-helicopter aircraft crashed during a training exercise, killing two Marines.
The MV-22 Osprey went down last May with 21 Marines and a Navy corpsman on board.
A US Navy ship operates off Haleiwa harbor in Hawaii on Friday
Fire department rescue personnel stand near a department helicopter at Haleiwa, Hawaii, on Friday
Marine Corps Base Hawaii, in Kaneohe Bay, where the two helicopters departed