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    October 2018
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Coast Guard Suspends Search for Five Missing Army Aviators

The Coast Guard suspended the active search at noon Monday for five Army aviators who went missing Tuesday night approximately two miles west of Ka’ena Point.

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Barbers Point returns from a first-light flight to refuel and continue searching for five Army aviators Aug. 17, 2017. An Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter went down approximately two miles west of Ka’ena Point, Oahu, Aug. 16, prompting the joint search effort. (U.S. Coast Guard by Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Levasseur/Released)

“A decision to suspend searching without finding survivors is extremely difficult given the depth of its impact and I know I speak for the entire Coast Guard when I say our thoughts and prayers are with Army helicopter squadron and particularly with families and loved ones of those missing,” said Rear Adm. Vincent B. Atkins, commander, Coast Guard 14th District. “Our Coast Guard crews relied on their training and professionalism in this dynamic environment to mount the best response possible and I want to thank all our partners, the Navy, Army, the Hawaii Department of Natural Resources, Fire, Police and Ocean Safety for their extraordinary efforts. As we suspend the search we stand ready to support any future operations the Army conducts, and continue to provide any comfort we can for those suffering from this tragic loss.”

On-scene assets searched a total cumulative area of more than 72,575 sq. nautical miles (96,110 sq. statute miles) in more than 132 separate searches. The search area began off of Ka’ena Point, Oahu, but extended west beyond Kauai and Ni’ihau based on drift models.

Involved in the search were:
* Coast Guard Cutter Walnut (WLB 205) and crew from Honolulu
* Coast Guard Cutter Ahi (WPB 87364) and crew from Honolulu
* Coast Guard Cutter Galveston Island (WPB 1349) and crew from Honolulu
* Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Air Station Barbers Point
* Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from 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
* Coast Guard 45-foot Response Boat-Medium Station Honolulu
* Coast Guard 45-foot Response Boat-Medium Station Kauai
* UH-60 Black Hawk from Wheeler Army Airfield
* CH-47 Chinook helicopter aircrew from Wheeler Army Airfield
* Shore patrols and a helicopter crew from Honolulu Fire Department
* Shore patrols from Kauai Fire Department
* Crews from Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services
* Crew from the Hawaii Department of Land of Natural Resources
* Shore patrols from the Army and Coast Guard Sector Honolulu
* Residents of Ni’ihau Island

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.

The safety zone remains in effect extending out in a five nautical mile (5.75 statute miles) 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.

Army Helicopter Down – Search Continues for 5 Missing Aviators Off Oahu

Responders are continuing the search for five missing Army aviators from a downed Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter approximately two miles west of Ka’ena Point, Oahu, Wednesday.

A UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter aircrew from Wheeler Army Airfield and a fireboat crew from the Honolulu Fire Department are shown conducting a search for five crewmembers aboard a downed Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter approximately two miles west of Ka’ena Point, Oahu, Aug. 16, 2017. Two Black Hawk aircrews were reportedly conducting night training Aug. 15, between Ka’ena Point and Dillingham Airfield when communications were lost with one of the helicopters. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Released)

Searching are:

  • HC-130 Hercules airplane aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point
  • MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point
  • Coast Guard Cutter Ahi (WPB 87364) and crew, an 87-foot patrol boat homeported in Honolulu
  • 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Honolulu
  • CH-47 Chinook helicopter aircrew from Wheeler Army Airfield
  • MH-60R Seahawk helicopter aircrew from Navy Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 37
  • P-3 Orion aircrew from Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay
  • Shore patrols and a helicopter crew from Honolulu Fire Department
  • Crews from Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services and a crew from the Hawaii Department of Land of Natural Resources

En route is:

  • Coast Guard Cutter Walnut (WLB 205) and crew, a 225-foot buoy tender homeported in Honolulu

None of the aviators have been located yet. Debris has been spotted and recovered near Ka’ena Point by responders. A joint forward incident command post has been established at Hale’iwa Boat Harbor to coordinate search and rescue efforts.

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Ahi (WPB 87364), an 87-foot patrol boat homeported in Honolulu, are shown conducting a search for five crewmembers aboard a downed Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter approximately two miles west of Ka’ena Point, Oahu, Aug. 16, 2017. Two Black Hawk aircrews were reportedly conducting night training Aug. 15, between Ka’ena Point and Dillingham Airfield when communications were lost with one of the helicopters. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Released)

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.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Command Center in Honolulu received a call at 10:08 p.m. Tuesday from personnel at Wheeler Army Airfield stating they lost communications with one of their UH-60 Black Hawk aircrews. Watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast and directed the launch of response assets.

A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Honolulu are shown conducting a search for five crewmembers aboard a downed Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter approximately two miles west of Ka’ena Point, Oahu, Aug. 16, 2017. Two Black Hawk aircrews were reportedly conducting night training Aug. 15, between Ka’ena Point and Dillingham Airfield when communications were lost with one of the helicopters. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Released)

The two Black Hawk aircrews were reportedly conducting training between Ka’ena Point and Dillingham Airfield at the time communications were lost.

Weather on scene is currently 17 mph winds with 6 foot seas.