Coast Guard Continues to Lead Search for Downed B-52 Crew

HAGATNA, Guam — The U.S. Coast Guard today continued to lead a search for surviving crew members of a U.S. Air Force B-52 bomber which crashed yesterday 25 miles northwest of Apra Harbor, Guam.

Coast Guard Sector Guam small boats recovered the remains of two crew members yesterday, but a massive joint-agency search continues. On scene in a 900-square mile search area are crews with two Coast Guard cutters, two Air Force F-15s, and a Navy P-3 Orion from Kadena Air Base in Japan.

Crews with two Navy HH-60 Jayhawks and a crew aboard a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency helicopter also joined Guam Fire Department and Guam Police Department search crews yesterday and this morning.

The Coast Guard’s command center near Apra Harbor reports that search crews have covered nearly 3,000 square miles — essentially saturating an area that covers the B-52’s intended flight path in to Andersen Air Force Base from the moment the plane’s communications were lost with the air traffic control tower there.

“We have had terrific cooperation with our Department of Defense and Guam territorial government partners,” said Lt. Elizabeth Buendia, supervisor of the Coast Guard’s search and rescue command center near Apra Harbor.

“Our hearts go out to the families of the victims recovered to this point, but we have an active search and rescue case going for the other crew members aboard the B-52.”

The Coast Guard’s 110-foot patrol boat Assateague was on scene within 45 minutes of the crash. Also on scene is the 225-foot buoy tender Kukui, home ported in Honolulu.

Rescue crews on scene have reported “ideal” search conditions with winds out of the east at 5-10 knots, seas from the northwest at 1-2 feet and unrestricted visibility of 10 miles.

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