Coast Guard expands recovery operations for missing air crewmember

8th Coast Guard District NewsMOBILE, Ala. — The Coast Guard continues recovery operations, Wednesday, for the missing crewmember of MH-6535 that crashed in Mobile Bay.

Additional responders and resources are in place to search for Petty Officer 3rd Class Andrew Knight of Thomasville. More sophisticated side-scan sonar capabilities have been added to assist diving operations. Air, surface and shoreline patrols continue, and the Coast Guard Cutter Cobia remains onscene to enforce the safety zone.

The search area includes Mobile Bay, Mississippi Sound, Dauphin Island, Fort Morgan and the barrier islands.

“Our resolve to find our shipmate has not diminished,” said Capt. Kenneth Ivery, deputy commander of Coast Guard Sector Mobile. “Additionally, I thank the local agencies and volunteers who have dedicated thousands of staff hours assisting us in searching for Petty Officer Knight and all of the crewmembers. Many volunteers took leave from their jobs in order to help us, and we are truly grateful.”

The bodies of Lt. Cmdr. Dale Taylor, of Snow Hill, N.C., and Lt. j.g. Thomas Cameron, of Portland, Ore., were recovered by response personnel, March 1. Chief Petty Officer Fernando Jorge, of Cypress Valley, Calif., was recovered February 28, the night of the incident.

Capt. Thomas Maine, commanding officer of Aviation Training Center Mobile, announced Monday that a memorial service will be held at ATC Mobile, 10 a.m., Thursday, to honor the memory of the four crewmembers.

A Mishap Analysis Board has been convened by the commandant of the Coast Guard. The team will conduct a safety analysis of all aspects of the accident to determine causal factors and make recommendations to prevent the recurrence of similar mishaps in the future. The members of the board have experience in a variety of specialties including flight operations, engineering, medical, aviation support systems and accident analysis.

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