Two Marine Corps helicopters carrying six crew members each collided and went down off the Hawaiian island of Oahu while on a nighttime training mission, and rescuers searched choppy waters on Friday where debris had been sighted, military officials said.
The identity of three Marines on board the aircraft have been revealed. One of the 12 Marines has been confirmed to be Ty Hart from Stayton, Oregon.
Matthew Drown, a Klein Oaks High School graduate, and Maj. Shawn Campbell, 41, a Texas A&M and Klein High School graduate, both from Houston, were also on the helicopters during the crash, according to KHOU.
Campbell, 41, was a married father of four who lived in Hawaii with his family, his relatives said. His family members say that he was flying one of the helicopters.
The U.S. Coast Guard led a search and rescue operation after a collision between two Marine aircraft off the coast of Hawaii Thursday night
The Coast Guard were supported by units from the Honolulu police and fire departments, a Coast Guard spokesperson said
The two Marine helicopters were reported to have had a total of 12 passengers on board. There was no information on survivors
Two CH-53D helicopters approach a landing zone during an exercise in Oahu, Hawaii, in 2004. Two helicopters of the same model collided and crashed off the coast of Oahu on Thursday night, the Coast Guard reported
‘I’m still praying for a miracle right now,’ said the sister-in-law of a pilot who was on board one of the downed aircraft.
‘I’ve been watching the news all day long, and crying pretty much all day,’ the woman told Daily Mail Online.
‘It’s all in the Lord’s hands right now.’
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 report of the downed aircraft came in at 11:38pm Thursday, a Coast Guard spokesperson said.
There is no information on what caused the collision between two Marine helicopters Thursday night, and no immediate word on survivors
‘We have observed a debris field during our search and rescue mission,’ Coast Guard Lt. Scott Carr told Daily Mail Online.
Officials from Coast Guard District 14 had assistance in their search from a Navy helicopter, as well as units from the Honolulu fire and police departments which conducted shoreline searches and provided rescue boats, Carr said.
Hawaii News Now reported fire and an empty life raft were also spotted.
Search conditions were challenging because of high surf, officials said.
In a press release Friday, the Marine Corps urged residents of Oahu not to touch any debris floating into shore from the crashed helicopters.
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
The helicopters carrying 12 crew members collided off the Hawaiian island of Oahu during a nighttime training mission
Rescuers from the Coast Guard, Navy, police and fire departments were searching a debris field in choppy waters Friday
Military officials and Honolulu Police Department officers talk at a beach park where search and rescue officials are meeting in Haleiwa, Hawaii
A U.S. Navy ship operates off Haleiwa harbor in Hawaii on Friday, where two U.S. Marine helicopters crashed into the ocean overnight
A tweet from the U.S. Marine Corps confirmed the search and rescue mission for two aircraft belonging to the armed forces branch
The aircraft involved were of the model CH-53, also known as Sea Stallions, according to a tweet posted by the Marines.
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.
It was unknown what caused the collision.
The collision 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.
Fire department rescue personnel stand near a department helicopter near the beach at Haleiwa, Hawaii, on Friday
Marine Corps Base Hawaii, in Kaneohe Bay, where the two helicopters departed before colliding in the air above the north shore of Oahu
The Marine Corps base in Kaneohe bay where the two helicopters departed is close to Honolulu, the state capital of Hawaii