Search Expanded for Downed Black Hawk, 5 Aviators Still MissingAugust 17, 2017, 4:47 PM HST · Updated August 17, 5:12 PM 3 Comments
Crews continue to recover debris from a downed Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, but the five aviators aboard remain missing.
The craft had lost communication with personnel at Wheeler Army Airfield on Tuesday night during a training exercise with another black Hawk air crew between Kaʻena Point and Dillingham Airfield on Oʻahu.
The search is focused on an area approximately two miles west of Ka’ena Point, and 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.
As of 1 p.m. on Thursday, none of the aviators had been located.
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 radius (from roughly two miles northwest of Ka’ena Point), was established by the Coast Guard on 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.
Authorities say 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. Coast Guard officials say the debris poses potential risk and could cause serious bodily harm due to sharp edges.
Weather on scene is currently 17 mph winds with 4 foot seas and isolated showers.
Assets responding to the incident include the following:
* 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
Also en route is the Coast Guard Cutter Galveston Island (WPB 1349) and crew, who are replacing the Coast Guard Cutter Ahi (WPB 87364).
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