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Search Suspended for 5 Army Aviators Aboard Downed Black Hawk

August 21, 2017, 12:39 PM HST · Updated August 21, 12:46 PM
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The Coast Guard suspended the active search for five Army aviators who went missing Tuesday night approximately two miles west of Ka’ena Point. The search was suspended at noon on Monday.

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    “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 Hawaiʻi 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, Oʻahu, but extended west beyond Kauaʻi and Ni’ihau based on drift models.

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    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.

    Assets involved in the search included the following:
    * 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 Hawaiʻi at Kaneʻohe Bay
    * Navy MH-60 Seahawk helicopter crew from Marine Corps Base Hawaiʻi at Kaneʻohe Bay
    * Coast Guard 45-foot Response Boat-Medium Station Honolulu
    * Coast Guard 45-foot Response Boat-Medium Station Kauaʻi
    * 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 Kauaʻi Fire Department
    * Crews from Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services
    * Crew from the Hawaiʻi Department of Land of Natural Resources
    * Shore patrols from the Army and Coast Guard Sector Honolulu
    * Residents of Ni’ihau Island

    Photo at right: An aircrewman aboard a Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane from Air Station Barbers Point scans the waters off Oahu Aug. 18, 2017, for any sign of five missing aviators from an Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. The aviators went missing the night of Aug. 15 during a training evolution. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Air Station Barbers Point/Released) Photo at left: An MH-65 helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point passes Ka’ena Point Aug. 18, 2017, during their on going search for five missing Army aviators in the area. Crews from the Coast Guard, Army, Navy, Honolulu Fire Department, Kauai Fire Department, Department of Land and Natural Resources and Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services are engaged in the search. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Air Station Barbers Point/Released)

    An aircrew aboard a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Barbers Point scans the waters off Oahu Aug. 18, 2017, for any sign of five missing aviators from an Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. The aviators went missing the night of Aug. 15 during a training evolution. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Air Station Barbers Point/Released)

    A Coast Guard Station Honolulu 45-foot Response Boat-Medium scans the waters off Oahu Aug. 18, 2017, for any sign of five missing aviators from an Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. The aviators went missing the night of Aug. 15 during a training evolution. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Air Station Barbers Point/Released)

    The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Walnut (WLB 205) scan the waters off Oahu Aug. 18, 2017, for any sign of five missing aviators from an Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. The aviators went missing the night of Aug. 15 during a training evolution. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Air Station Barbers Point/Released)

    The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Galveston Island (WPB 1349) scan the waters off Oahu Aug. 18, 2017, for any sign of five missing aviators from an Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. The aviators went missing the night of Aug. 15 during a training evolution. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Air Station Barbers Point/Released)

    An aircrewman aboard a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Barbers Point scans the waters off Oahu Aug. 18, 2017, for any sign of five missing aviators from an Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. The aviators went missing the night of Aug. 15 during a training evolution. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Air Station Barbers Point/Released)

    An aircrewman aboard a Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane from Air Station Barbers Point scans the waters off Oahu Aug. 18, 2017, for any sign of five missing aviators from an Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. The aviators went missing the night of Aug. 15 during a training evolution. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Air Station Barbers Point/Released)

    An aircrew aboard a Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane from Air Station Barbers Point scans the waters off Oahu Aug. 18, 2017, for any sign of five missing aviators from an Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. The aviators went missing the night of Aug. 15 during a training evolution. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Air Station Barbers Point/Released)

    An aircrewman aboard a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Barbers Point scans the waters off Oahu Aug. 18, 2017, for any sign of five missing aviators from an Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. The aviators went missing the night of Aug. 15 during a training evolution. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Air Station Barbers Point/Released)

    An aircrew aboard a Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane from Air Station Barbers Point scans the waters off Oahu Aug. 18, 2017, for any sign of five missing aviators from an Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. The aviators went missing the night of Aug. 15 during a training evolution. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Air Station Barbers Point/Released)

    An aircrewman aboard a Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane from Air Station Barbers Point scans the waters off Oahu Aug. 18, 2017, for any sign of five missing aviators from an Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. The aviators went missing the night of Aug. 15 during a training evolution. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Air Station Barbers Point/Released)

    Coast Guard led search efforts for Aug. 18, 2017, encompassing assets from the Coast Guard, Army, Navy, Honolulu Fire Department, Department of Natural Resources and Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services are laid out over a map of the area off Oahu, Hawaii. Coast Guard search and rescue planners uses this and other programs to plan out and model efforts for responses. (U.S. Coast Guard graphic/Released)

    Ground crews are seen set up on Ka’ena Point, Hawaii, Aug. 18, 2017. A joint response has been mounted to search for five missing Army aviators from a downed UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter off Oahu. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Air Station Barbers Point/Released)

    An MH-65 helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point passes Ka’ena Point Aug. 18, 2017, during their on going search for five missing Army aviators in the area. Crews from the Coast Guard, Army, Navy, Honolulu Fire Department, Kauai Fire Department, Department of Land and Natural Resources and Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services are engaged in the search. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Air Station Barbers Point/Released)

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