UPDATE: Hilo Coast Guard Kiska Responds to Military Aircraft Collision Off Oahu
***Updated at 11:30 a.m. to include additional information from the United States Coast Guard and Marine Corps.***
The United States Coast Guard and partnering emergency responders continue to search for 12 individuals on board two United States Marine Corps CH-53E helicopters off the coast of Oahu.
Responders are searching for survivors in a debris field located approximately seven miles offshore that stretches from Mokule’ia Beach to Turtle Bay.
Marine Corps Major Christian Devine said Friday morning on the Marine Corps Facebook page that the two Marine CH-53E helicopters were conducting a training flight off the coast of Oahu when the incident occurred Thursday night.
The aircraft are reportedly from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463, Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing from Marine Corps Base Hawai’i.
As of 11:15 a.m., all 12 missing personnel remained unaccounted for, according to officials.
“The Coast Guard is asking that people use extreme caution along the coastal area surrounding the wreckage site which stretches from Mokule’ia Beach to Turtle Bay,” says Lieutenant Scott Carr, Coast Guard 14th District public affairs officer. “We are urging people to stay out of the water and off the beaches due to debris that could pose potential risk and cause serious bodily harm.”
***Original story posted at 6:39 a.m.***
Twelve crew members aboard two Marine CH-53E helicopters are missing after the helicopters reportedly collided late Thursday night, according to the United States Coast Guard. Responders are searching for survivors about two-and-a-half-miles north of Haleiwa, Oahu in a debris field.
Watch standers at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu received notification of the incident at 11:38 p.m. and transferred the case to the Coast Guard District 14 Command Center in Honolulu.
Coast Guard crews from Air Station Barbers Point were released for search efforts. Assistance from other agencies was also requested.
Officials say each helicopter reportedly had six personnel on board.
Crew aboard the Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter arrived on scene just after midnight and other crews and agencies got involved in the search, including HC-130 Hercules airplane and crew, U.S. Navy, MH-60 helicopter from Kaneohe Bay, the Honolulu Fire Department, a helicopter, and rescue boat.
The Coast Guard Cutter Kiska, stationed in Hilo, is en route to assist in the efforts, as is the Coast Guard Cutter Ahi in Maui.
As of 5 a.m,. the Coast Guard reports that the area reportedly had mostly cloudy skies with a light southeast wind and scattered showers.
The north shore of Oahu is under a high surf advisory with 10 to 15 foot waves, building to 25 to 30 foot waves later Friday.
Coast Guard officials say the Marine Corps is investigating the incident.