SAN DIEGO – The Navy helicopter that crashed last week off the San Diego coast touched down onboard USS Abraham Lincoln before experiencing “side to side vibrations,” causing its main rotor to connect with the flight deck before the aircraft fell into the ocean, according to the Navy.
Officials continue to investigate the Aug. 31 incident involving the crash of a MH-60S Knighthawk which happened some 60 nautical miles from the shore, the Naval Safety Center’s mishap summaries show.
Five sailors were declared dead Saturday resulting from the crash that happened earlier in the week while crews were conducting “routine flight operations.” Several days of searching by the Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard yielded no signs of the missing sailors with the effort shifting over the weekend from search and rescue operations to a recovery mission.
Fallen service members were identified as:
- Lt. Bradley A. Foster, 29, a pilot from Oakhurst, California;
- Lt. Paul R. Fridley, 28, a pilot from Annandale, Virginia;
- Naval Air Crewman (Helicopter) 2nd Class James P. Buriak, 31, from Salem, Virginia;
- Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Sarah F. Burns, 31, from Severna Park, Maryland; and
- Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Bailey J. Tucker, 21, from St. Louis, Missouri
One sailor aboard the helicopter was rescued and two others who were aboard the San Diego-based carrier were taken ashore for medical care. Three other crew members also suffered minor injuries, the Navy said.
Saturday’s announcement identifying the sailors drew reactions from several prominent leaders, including Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan as well as the Royal Canadian Navy.
“Rest easy shipmates,” Canada’s naval force said in a tweet. “Much love & comfort to all.”
A fundraiser was established to support families impacted by the tragedy.