Navy Employs UUVs in Search for Downed Helicopter

Story Number: NNS090522-04Release Date: 5/22/2009 6:02:00 AM
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From Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- A team of experienced search and salvage specialists from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 1 departed Naval Base Point Loma May 21 in rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RHIBs) to search for the HH-60 Seahawk helicopter that went down May 19 off the coast of Southern California and Mexico using unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs).

Earlier today, officials concluded that aircrew survivability was extremely unlikely and suspended SAR efforts. The U.S. Navy's search efforts are now focused on the feasibility of salvage operations. Data collected by the UUVs is currently being used to asses the debris field.

Three deceased crewmembers were recovered from the crash site on Wednesday during search and rescue operations conducted by assets from the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, San Diego Harbor Police, Customs and Border Protection and the Mexican Navy. There were five crewmembers on board the HH-60 conducting combat search and rescue training.

The HH-60 Seahawk helicopter went down while conducting training operations with USS Nimitz (CVN 68) during a composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX). The helicopter was from Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron (HS) 6 located in San Diego. HS-6 is part of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11 assigned to the USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Group (CSG). The Navy is investigating the cause of the incident.

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