7 Marines, 4 Soldiers Presumed Dead After Copter Crash
Seven Marines and four soldiers were presumed dead this morning after going missing Tuesday when a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crashed during a routine night training exercise at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, base officials said.
The helicopter was reported missing at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday and debris was located at about 2 a.m., base officials said in a statement.
Eglin Air Force Base spokesman Andy Bourland told ABC News that it’s unknown whether weather played a factor.
“There was fog. I do not know at this time if it was a contributing factor, but when our search-and-rescue personnel arrived on scene there was very limited visibility,” he said.
Bourland said the helicopter did not issue a distress call. A search-and-rescue mission is underway for the missing crew members. Debris has been located east of the Navarre Bridge and it is expected that debris will continue to appear in the area moving toward the bridge.
The Marines are part of a special operations group based at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina, and the soldiers were from a Hammond, Louisiana-based National Guard unit, officials said.
The crew of a second helicopter was recovered and is safe, Bourland said.
The accident, which happened during a training mission on a beach between Pensacola and Destin, is under investigation.