Ever since two helicopters crashed off Hawaii, coast guard was looking for 12 missing marines. The search has now been officially closed.
The decision to suspend the search at sunset local time came after four life rafts were found in the desperate search for the service members off Oahu.
A U.S. Navy salvage ship — equipped with sonar and a remotely operated vehicle — had joined the underwater search effort near the last known position of the two CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters.
According to Marines spokesman Captain Timothy Irish, 400-500 service members had been still actively searching in treacherous conditions below water, above water, and along the shoreline for any clues that could lead them to the missing crew.
“Our focus is to locate these Marines and know with absolute certainty we’ve thoroughly canvassed every location we might find them,” Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Scott Carr said yesterday during a press briefing.
The Coast Guard was first notified of the missing helicopters late Thursday night when a civilian called about a fireball in the sky. Another report also spoke of a flare in the sky, according to Lt. Carr, but it remains unclear if the fireball and flare are related.
The cause of this accident is still under investigation by the Marine Corps. According to Gen. Russell Sanborn, the Marines will now take responsibility for a recovery and salvage operation.