Coast Guard Suspends Search for Army Aviators Off O‘ahu
The Coast Guard suspended the active search at noon Monday for five Army aviators who went missing Tuesday night, Aug. 15, 2017, approximately two miles west of Ka‘ena Point.
“A decision to suspend searching without finding survivors is extremely difficult given the depth of its impact and I know I speak for the entire Coast Guard when I say our thoughts and prayers are with Army helicopter squadron and particularly with families and loved ones of those missing,” said Rear Adm. Vincent B. Atkins, commander, Coast Guard 14th District. “Our Coast Guard crews relied on their training and professionalism in this dynamic environment to mount the best response possible and I want to thank all our partners, the Navy, Army, the Hawai‘i Department of Natural Resources, fire, police and Ocean Safety for their extraordinary efforts. As we suspend the search, we stand ready to support any future operations the Army conducts and continue to provide any comfort we can for those suffering from this tragic loss.”
On-scene assets searched a total cumulative area of more than 72,575 square nautical miles (96,110 square statute miles) in more than 132 separate searches. The search area began off of Ka‘ena Point, O‘ahu, but extended west beyond Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau based on drift models.
Involved in the search were:
- Coast Guard Cutter Walnut (WLB 205) and crew from Honolulu
- Coast Guard Cutter Ahi (WPB 87364) and crew from Honolulu
- Coast Guard Cutter Galveston Island (WPB 1349) and crew from Honolulu
- Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Air Station Barbers Point
- Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Barbers Point
- Navy P-3 Orion aircrew from Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe Bay
- Navy MH-60 Seahawk helicopter crew from Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe Bay
- Coast Guard 45-foot Response Boat-Medium Station Honolulu
- Coast Guard 45-foot Response Boat-Medium Station Kauai
- UH-60 Black Hawk from Wheeler Army Airfield
- CH-47 Chinook helicopter aircrew from Wheeler Army Airfield
- Shore patrols and a helicopter crew from Honolulu Fire Department
- Shore patrols from Kauai Fire Department
- Crews from Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services
- Crew from the Hawaii Department of Land of Natural Resources
- Shore patrols from the Army and Coast Guard Sector Honolulu
- Residents of Ni’ihau Island
- The search began late Tuesday following notification to the Coast Guard from personnel at Wheeler Army Airfield stating they lost communication with one of their UH-60 Black Hawk aircrews. The missing aircrew was reportedly engaged in night time training operations between Ka’ena Point and Dillingham Airfield.
The safety zone remains in effect extending out in a five nautical mile (5.75 statute miles) radius from the point 21-27.919N 158-21.547W, geographically located roughly two miles northwest of Ka‘ena Point, established by the Coast Guard Captain of the Port Wednesday.
No vessels or persons are authorized to enter this zone without prior approval from the Captain of the Port. A broadcast notice to mariners has been issued. Ka‘ena State Park trails remain closed at this time.