Five sailors were declared dead on Saturday after a U.S. Navy helicopter crashed off the coast near San Diego on Tuesday, military officials said.
The Navy said rescuers searched for the sailors for more than 72 hours. The sailors had been missing since the helicopter, an MH-60S, crashed into the sea at 4:30 p.m. local time, the Navy said in a statement.
Five search helicopters, the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln, the U.S.S. Cincinnati and vessels from the Coast Guard tried to locate the sailors, who were part of the Navy’s Third Fleet. The Navy said it was trying to recover their bodies.
The sailors had been flying in the helicopter, which was operating on the deck of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln, a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, before the helicopter crashed.
The identities of the sailors were being withheld pending family notifications, officials said.
Navy officials said the helicopter was conducting “routine flight operations” about 60 nautical miles off the coast.
One sailor who was rescued from the helicopter was in stable condition on Wednesday, the Navy said. Five sailors who were aboard the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln at the time of the crash also were injured and were in stable condition on Wednesday, the Navy said. The Navy did not say how those sailors were injured.
Two were taken ashore for treatment, while the other three remained on the carrier and were treated for minor injuries, the Navy said.
The MH-60S is a model that has been in use since 2002, according to the Naval Air Systems Command.
The 14,000-pound helicopter has a range of 245 nautical miles and can reach a top speed of 180 knots, according to the command. The Navy has more than 250 MH-60S helicopters in use, the command said.
MH-60S helicopters are used for an array of purposes, including “vertical replenishment, combat search and rescue, special warfare support and airborne mine countermeasures” according to Naval Technology, a website that reports on military equipment.