Search Enters Second Day for 5 Missing Army Aviators Off Oahu

Responders enter day two in the 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, Thursday.

Searching are:

  • Coast Guard Cutter Walnut (WLB 205) and crew from Honolulu
  • 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
  • Crews from Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services
  • Crew from the Hawaii Department of Land of Natural Resources
  • Shore patrols from the Army

En route:

  • Coast Guard Cutter Galveston Island (WPB 1349) and crew are replacing the Coast Guard Cutter Ahi (WPB 87364) and will head to the scene from Base Honolulu.

The search area has expanded to as much as 50 miles offshore due to the swift and dynamic currents in the area. Fixed-wing aviation assets are searching the leading edge while helicopters and vessels are concentrating efforts 15 – 20 miles offshore. Additional assets are being considered and may join the search throughout the day.

The Coast Guard Cutter Walnut (WLB 205), a 225-foot buoy tender homeported in Honolulu is shown coordinating search efforts with a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Honolulu, for five crewmembers aboard a downed Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter off Ka’ena Point, Oahu, Aug. 17, 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)

None of the aviators have been located yet. Debris continues to be spotted and recovered in the area off Ka’ena Point by responders. Personnel at the joint forward incident command post at Hale’iwa Boat Harbor continue to coordinate search and rescue efforts.

A safety zone extending out in a five nautical mile (5.75 statue mile) radius from the point 21-27.919N 158-21.547W, geographically located roughly two miles northwest of Ka’ena Point, was 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 are currently closed at this time.

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. Those who see or encounter debris consistent with this type of aircraft along the north and west side of Oahu are asked to report it to responders by calling the 25th Combat Infantry Brigade Staff Duty Officer at 808-656-1080.

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.

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 4 foot seas and isolated showers.

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