Search enters third day for missing Army aviators off Oahu

Coast Guard Cutter Walnut file photo

Coast Guard Cutter Walnut file photo

HONOLULU — Responders enter day three in the continuing search for five missing Army aviators from a downed Army UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter approximately two miles west of Ka’ena Point, Friday.

Searching are:

  • Coast Guard Cutter Walnut (WLB 205) and crew from Honolulu
  • Coast Guard Cutter Galveston Island (WPB 1349) and crew from Base Honolulu
  • Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point
  • Navy P-3 Orion aircrew from Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe Bay
  • Navy MH-60 Seahawk helicopter crew from Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe Bay
  • UH-60 Blackhawk from Wheeler Army Airfield
  • CH-47 Chinook helicopter aircrew from Wheeler Army Airfield
  • Shore patrols and a helicopter crew from Honolulu Fire Department
  • Crews from Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services
  • Crew from the Hawaii Department of Land of Natural Resources
  • Shore patrols from the Army

A Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Air Station Barbers Point searched throughout the night and is scheduled to resume efforts Friday afternoon following sufficient crew rest.

The search area remains at as much as 50 miles offshore having expanded since the incident due to swift and dynamic currents in the area. Fixed-wing aviation assets are searching the leading edge while helicopters and vessels are concentrating efforts now 25 miles offshore.

None of the missing aviators have been located yet. Debris continues to be spotted and recovered in the area off Ka’ena Point by responders. Personnel at the joint forward operating base at Hale’iwa Boat Harbor continue to coordinate efforts.

A safety zone remains in effect extending out in a five nautical mile (5.75 statue mile) radius from the point 21-27.919N 158-21.547W, geographically located roughly two miles northwest of Ka’ena Point, established by the Coast Guard Captain of the Port Wednesday. No vessels or persons are authorized to enter this zone without prior approval from the Captain of the Port. A broadcast notice to mariners has been issued. Ka’ena State Park trails remain closed at this time.

Debris from the crash should be considered hazardous material and should only be recovered by recovery teams with the proper training and personal protective equipment. The debris poses potential risk and could cause serious bodily harm due to sharp edges. Those who see or encounter debris consistent with this type of aircraft along the north and west side of Oahu are asked to report it to responders by calling the 25th Combat Infantry Brigade Staff Duty Officer at 808-656-1080.

The search began late Tuesday following notification to the Coast Guard from personnel at Wheeler Army Airfield stating they lost communication with one of their UH-60 Black Hawk aircrews. The missing aircrew was reportedly engaged in night time training operations between Ka’ena Point and Dillingham Airfield.

Weather on scene is similar to the previous days, with 17 mph winds, seas to 4-feet and isolated showers. Visibility is good.

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