U.S. Navy chopper down off Virginia, one crew member dead

by Reuters
Wednesday, 8 January 2014 22:07 GMT

(Adds details from news conference, byline)

By Lacey Johnson

WASHINGTON, Jan 8 (Reuters) - A U.S. Navy helicopter went down off the Virginia coast on Wednesday and one of the five crew members has died and another is missing, the military said.

The MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter was on a training flight when it crashed into the Atlantic Ocean near Fort Story, about 150 miles (240 km) south of Washington, the Navy said in a statement.

A nearby Coast Guard cutter and two helicopters were sent to the site after receiving a distress call at about 10:45 a.m. ET (1545 GMT), said Captain Todd Flannery, commander of Helicopter Sea Combat Wing Atlantic, during an online news conference.

He said that one of the four people rescued and flown to a hospital in Norfolk, Virginia, has died. Two of the survivors are in stable condition, and one was about to undergo surgery.

A fifth crew member is missing, Flannery said.

None of the two pilots and three air crewmen has been identified. Flannery said the cause of the crash was under investigation.

The helicopter was part of an anti-mine squadron based at Norfolk, Virginia. (Reporting by Lacey Johnson; editing by Ian Simpson, Chizu Nomiyama, Cynthia Osterman and Gunna Dickson)

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