2 fliers missing after chopper crash presumed dead

SeaHawkSAN DIEGO — The Navy Monday suspended a search of the Red Sea for two helicopter crew members aboard a San Diego-based MH-60S Nighthawk that crashed Sunday.

Navy officials said they concluded “aircrew survivability was extremely unlikely,” given the time that had passed since the accident off the west coast of Saudi Arabia.

The chopper, assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 6 at Naval Air Station North Island, crashed while the pilot trying to land on deck of the San Diego-based guided-missile destroyer USS William P. Lawrence, officials said. Both deployed with the USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Group in January.

The crash was not related to “any sort of hostile activity,” Navy officials said.

Three of the helicopter’s five crew members were “accounted for and stable” following the crash, according to the Navy. Searchers combed the area in boats and aircraft to no avail.

The Nimitz and the William P. Lawrence, along with USS Princeton, USS Shoup, USS Stockdale and USNS Rainier were involved in the search efforts, as were Navy and U.S. Air Force aircraft, according to the Navy

The USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Group was providing aircraft and small boats for search and rescue assistance, according to the Navy.

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