Coast Guard, partner agencies enter fourth day of search for 12 marine aviators off North Shore

A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew taxis for takeoff at Air Station Barbers Point, Hawaii, Jan. 16, 2016. The Dolphin crew is participating in the second day of search efforts to locate and rescue 12 Marine aviators involved in an aircraft accident off Oahu's North Shore late night Jan. 14, 2016. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Air Station Barbers Point/Released)

A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew taxis for takeoff at Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, Hawaii. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Air Station Barbers Point/Released)

HONOLULU — Search efforts continue Monday for 12 Marine aviators off the North Shore of Oahu.

Air, surface and shoreline assets are actively searching for the survivors and cataloging debris. Of the four life rafts confirmed to be aboard the two aircraft all have been sighted and three have been recovered. Two assets are working to recover the fourth today, sighted Sunday evening north of  Kahuku by a good Samaritan. There is no indication from the sightings that any survivors have been aboard any of the life rafts.

Over Sunday night a Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane crew, an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew, the Navy warship and the Coast Guard Cutter Kiska searched. On scene today are:

Aircraft: Surface:  Shoreline:
MH-65 Dolphin helicopter
Navy P-3 Orion
Honolulu Fire Department helicopter
Honolulu Police Department helicopter
(1) Navy warships
USNS Salvor, safeguard-class salvage ship,
supporting Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 1
Coast Guard Cutters Kiska and Ahi
(2) Ocean Safety jet ski teams
(65) Marines comprising shoreline search teams
Incident Command Post team Honolulu
Incident Command Post team Haleiwa
Hawaii Army National Guard

As of 8 a.m. Monday responders have conducted 89 searches comprising 21,000 sq. nautical miles (24,150 sq. miles) of search effort. The searches are layered on top of each other to provide multiple perspectives and fresh eyes on scene.

The USNS Salvor, a safeguard-class salvage ship from the Military Sealift Command, arrived on scene late Sunday from Pearl Harbor to support the Navy Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 1’s efforts to conduct an underwater search of the last know position of the aircraft off Haleiwa with sonar and a remotely operated vehicle. MDSU-1 conducted searches Sunday but did not sight any debris. Anything located in this search can assist search and rescue planners with their analysis of factors and conditions, allowing them to narrow down the search area and maximize the odds of locating the missing Marines.

“Today our country celebrates Martin Luther King. Jr. who once said ‘Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others.’  As we enter the fourth day of around the clock operations I would submit the men and women responding to this search effort are truly answering Dr. King’s question,” said Lt. Scott Carr, Coast Guard 14th District public affairs officer.  “Our focus is to locate these Marines and know with absolute certainty we’ve thoroughly canvassed every location we might find them.”

Weather conditions Monday are reportedly 11 mph winds, with seas up to 2 feet and swells of 8 feet. A high surf warning issued by the National Weather Service remains in effect for the North Shore of Oahu.

The public is reminded to use caution along the north and west shores of Oahu as the search continues. Debris should be treated as hazardous material and reported to the Marines at 808-257-8458 or 808-257-3023.

The cause of the accident is under investigation by the Marine Corps.

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