One CG-6535 crewmember still missing as Coast Guard switches to salvage and recovery operations

MOBILE, Ala. — The Coast Guard recovered two crewmembers, Thursday, as the salvage of the MH-65C Dolphin helicopter that crashed in Mobile Bay continues.

The remains of Lt. Cmdr. Dale Taylor, of Snow Hill, N.C., and Lt. j.g. Thomas Cameron, of Portland, Ore., were recovered by response personnel. The body of Chief Petty Officer Fernando Jorge was recovered Tuesday night after communications with the helicopter was lost during a training flight. Missing is Petty Officer 3rd Class Andrew Knight of Thomasville, Ala.

The Coast Guard suspended the active search and rescue operations Thursday night and are now conducting salvage and recovery operations.

“We saturated 95 percent of Mobile Bay for nearly two days with both aircraft and boats to thoroughly cover the search area. The decision to suspend the active search was terribly difficult,” said Capt. Donald J. Rose, commander of Coast Guard Sector Mobile. “Now, we must shift our focus to continuing salvage and recovery operations. As we continue to recover wreckage, we will look for the missing crewman.”

Coast Guard crews searched for 36 hours, conducting approximately 30 search patterns with track-line-search legs that covered 1,198 nautical miles within a search area of more than 200 square-nautical miles in an effort to locate the Coast Guardsmen. Crews and aircraft from multiple Coast Guard units, as well as several state and local first responder agencies, such as Alabama Marine Resources, Mobile Sheriff’s Department, Bon Secour Fire Department and Daphne Search and Rescue participated in the search efforts.

The tail section of the helicopter and other components were recovered Thursday by the crew aboard the Ben R. Johnson, a 57-foot salvage vessel. Wednesday night, the Ben R. Johnson recovered the helicopter fuselage from the bottom of Mobile Bay.

The public is asked to contact the Sector Mobile command center if they find any debris they believe is associated with the helicopter wreckage. The command center’s number is 251-441-5976.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

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