“The U.S. Navy has declared the five missing crewmembers of an MH-60S helicopter crash, deceased. U.S. 3rd Fleet has shifted from search and rescue efforts to recovery operations, Sept. 4,” the Navy said in a statement.
The identities of the crewmembers will be withheld until 24 hours after their next of kin have been notified, the Navy said in the statement.
An MH-60S Sea Hawk assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron crashed into the sea approximately 60 nautical miles off the coast of San Diego at 4:30 p.m. local time on Aug. 31. The helicopter was conducting routine flight operations from USS Abraham Lincoln right before the incident.
An investigation into the incident is still ongoing, the Navy said.
The casualties were announced after more than 72 hours of coordinated rescue efforts with 34 search and rescue flights, and over 170 hours of flight time.
The MH-60S Sea Hawk chopper typically carries a crew of four.