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January 13, 2014

Recovery operations continue at MH-53E crash site

Navy divers assigned to Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) 2, Company 2-2, are lowered into the water Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014 from the Military Sealift Command rescue and salvage ship USNS Grasp (T-ARS-51). MDSU-2 is aboard Grasp searching for the missing crew member of an MH 53E Sea Dragon helicopter that went down Jan. 8, 2014, off the coast of Virginia.

The Navy resumed search and recovery operations Jan. 13 when weather conditions improved at the crash site of the MH-53E that went down Jan. 8.

Dive operations were temporarily suspended Jan. 10 when it was determined that weather conditions had made it unsafe to continue diving at the site.

USNS Grasp (T-ARS 51) returned to the crash site in the afternoon Jan. 12 with divers from Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2 (MDSU 2) and patrol boats from Riverine Squadron 2 (RIVRON 2) to provide area security.

Sailors from MDSU 2 have expanded the search area and are using a Remus Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV) for high-resolution bottom mapping of the crash site.

Five crew members were on board the MH-53E when it crashed Jan. 8 approximately 18 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach. Four of the crew members were rescued and taken to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital for treatment. Two crew members died at the hospital from their injuries. One crew member remains missing. The two other rescued crew members have both been released from the hospital.

The crew members were all assigned to Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron 14 based at Norfolk Naval Station Chambers Field. They were flying an MH-53E “Sea Dragon” on a routine mine countermeasure training exercise when the accident happened.

The cause of the crash is being investigated.




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