Published On: Wed, Mar 11th, 2015

Florida: Military chopper crashes, 11 soldiers killed

Four Army soldiers and seven Marines are dead after a Tuesday helicopter crash during a night training mission off of Florida. The Army National Guard’s UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter went down near Navarre Beach, but few details were made available by the Pentagon.

The area was under a fog advisory when the crash occurred Tuesday night near Eglin Air Force Base about 50 miles east of Pensacola. The extreme fog was still present Wednesday morning and impeded the search, Eglin public affairs specialist Sara Vidoni said.

Many media outlets reporting that all 11 were presumed dead, citing military sources. However, others at Eglin will not confirm that.

Global Dispatch 200x119“There’s always hope,” Eglin spokesman Mike Spaits said. “There’s always hope. Search and recovery — that’s the key.”

Human remains washed ashore Wednesday morning Vidoni did confirm. A Coast Guard vessel recovered debris including the downed chopper’s tail rotor overnight, officials told NBC News; other pieces of wreckage have started washing up on shore.

“There are search and rescue operations going on right now in the Navarre sound,” Spaits said. “We have some casualties, and search and rescue is still going on.”

The Marines are part of a Camp Lejeune, N.C.-based special operations group and the aircrew are from a Hammond, La.-based Louisiana National Guard unit, Eglin spokesman Andy Bourland said. The names of those involved have not been released.

Both crews were in Florida on temporary assignment.

“These soldiers represent the best of Louisiana, and we are praying for them and their families.” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said in a statement.

President Obama has expressed his condolences to victims’ family members and conveyed his appreciation for the sacrifices U.S. troops have made, according to the White House.

The UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter was reported missing around 8:30 p.m. CT Tuesday during a night training mission, and search and rescue crews who started around 1 a.m. Wednesday found debris from the crash about a half hour later, Bourland said.

A second helicopter participating in the exercise returned to the base safely, the military said. Both aircraft were assigned to the 1-244th Assault Helicopter Battalion in Hammond.


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- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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