Coast Guard Helicopter Crashes off Oahu-One Crewman Missing

HONOLULU — The U.S. Coast Guard is actively searching for a missing crewmember from one of its own HH-65 Dolphin helicopters, which crashed at 8:15 p.m. Thursday, approximately five miles south of Honolulu International Airport with four persons aboard.

Three of the crew were transported by another HH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter to the Queen’s Medical Center here. The three had been recovered from the water by the Honolulu Fire Department.

The Coast Guard is not releasing the conditions or names of the recovered personnel until their families have been notified.

The Coast Guard will search through the night for the fourth crewmember and HFD and the Honolulu Police Department will re-join the search at first light. A crew aboard the 110-foot patrol boat Kiska, and aircrews aboard a C-130 and HH-65 from Air Station Barbers Point will search through the night.

The weather conditions at the time of the crash were reported to be “favorable” by search crews with winds out of the east at 10-15 knots and seas of 6-8 feet.

“Our thoughts are with the families and loved ones of our helicopter crewmembers,” said Rear Adm. Manson K. Brown, the Fourteenth Coast Guard District Commander. “It’s a terrible circumstance and we are bringing as many assets to bear to find our missing shipmate.”

“Right now, our focus is our people,” Brown said.

Brown commands 29 operational units in the Central Pacific from the Fourteenth Coast Guard District’s headquarters in Honolulu. Air Station Barbers Point is one of those operational units and has four HH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopters and four C-130 long-range search aircraft assigned to perform the Coast Guard’s missions in Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, Singapore and Japan.

There are 1,150 active duty, 200 reserve, 100 civilian and 400 auxiliary members assigned to the Fourteenth Coast Guard District. There are approximately 300 personnel (80 officers, 220 enlisted) assigned to Air Station Barbers Point, located at the former Naval Air Station Barbers Point in Ewa Beach on Oahu.

The helicopter’s four-man crew was conducting search and rescue drills with a 47-foot motor lifeboat from Station Honolulu when it went down at 8:15 p.m. The Coast Guard was notified by the FAA and immediately launched a C-130 long-range search aircraft from Air Station Barbers Point.

A crew onboard an inbound Air Force C-17 to Honolulu International saw the Coast Guard helicopter go down and circled the site until a rescue boat from the Honolulu Fire Department could get on scene.
The cause of the accident is under investigation.

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