This Friday, Jan. 15, 2016 photo provided by the U.S. Marine Corps shows a Marine Officer attached to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463 uses binoculars to search for debris of a helicopter mishap in Haliewa Beach Park, Hawaii.
A plane aiding in the search for 12 missing Marines, whose helicopters crashed off the Hawaiian island of Oahu, was reportedly hit with a laser Saturday forcing it to alter its course.
A Coast Guard spokeswoman told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that if crew members had been directly exposed to the green laser, the C-130 Hercules would’ve had to make an emergency landing and the crew would’ve been examined.
Laser exposure could cause temporary blindness. Pointing a laser an aircraft is a federal crime.
Officials released the names of the 12 missing Marines late Saturday whose choppers crashed on Thursday. The names of the Marines are:
— Maj. Shawn M. Campbell, 41, College Station, Texas.
— Capt. Brian T. Kennedy, 31, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
— Capt. Kevin T. Roche, 30, St. Louis, Missouri.
— Capt. Steven R. Torbert, 29, Florence, Alabama.
— Sgt. Dillon J. Semolina, 24,Chaska, Minnesota.
— Sgt. Adam C. Schoeller, 25, Gardners, Pennsylvania.
— Sgt. Jeffrey A. Sempler, 22, Woodruff, South Carolina.
— Sgt. William J. Turner, 25, Florala, Alabama.
— Cpl. Matthew R. Drown, 23, Spring, Texas.
— Cpl. Thomas J. Jardas, 22, Fort Myers, Florida.
— Cpl. Christopher J. Orlando, 23, Hingham, Massachusetts.
— Lance Cpl. Ty L. Hart, 21, Aumsville, Oregon.
The family of Cpl. Christopher Orlando of Hingham, Massachusetts, said it was grateful for people's prayers. "We continue to monitor the ongoing search effort in Hawaii and are thankful for the hard work of the many federal and local heroes undertaking this search and rescue mission," the family said in a statement released by the Massachusetts State Police.
Ty Hart, a 21-year-old from Oregon, was in one of the helicopters, the Oregonian reported Friday night. The newspaper said Hart lives on base in Hawaii with his wife.
Hart's former high school football coach and teacher, Alan Kirby, described Hart as a positive kid who always had a smile on his face and called him a quick learner on the gridiron.
The family of Capt. Kevin Roche believes he was one of the Marines aboard the helicopters.
"We believe the Marines and Coast Guard are doing everything they can to bring Kevin and his fellow Marines home safely, and we are grateful to everyone involved in the rescue," said a family statement distributed by brother-in-law Anthony Kuenzel in St. Louis.
A Coast Guard official was notified of the crash by a civilian who saw the aircraft flying then disappear into a fireball. Someone else reported seeing a flare in the sky, Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Scott Carr said. It's unclear if the fireball and the flare were related.
The Marines were alerted when the CH-53E helicopters carrying six crew members each failed to return to their base at Kaneohe Bay following a nighttime training mission. Hours later, a Coast Guard helicopter and C-130 airplane spotted debris 2 1/2 miles off of Oahu.
A Navy P-3 airplane was scouring the ocean, along with helicopters from the Coast Guard, Army, Navy and Honolulu police and fire departments. Two Navy warships and two Coast Guard cutters were on the scene. Honolulu lifeguards on personal watercraft were also looking.
The Coast Guard was keeping people out of a wide zone that spanned about 30 miles of shoreline, citing danger from debris. The zone extended from the shore to 8 miles off the coast.
Saturday’s search efforts were severely hampered by high waves that topped 30 feet high.
National Weather Service meteorologist Derek Wroe said Saturday that the surf peaked Friday afternoon and was slowly declining.
A storm about 1,500 miles to the north and northwest of Oahu was sending large swells to the islands, he said.
Press conference at Marine Corps Base Hawaii with Coast Guard Lt. Scott Carr and USMC Capt. Time Irish.
HALEIWA, Hawaii -
The Coast Guard says two Marine helicopters crashed off of Haleiwa around 11:40 p.m. Thursday.
The type of rotorcraft involved is a CH-53, which is a transport helicopter. Each aircraft had six people aboard from Marine Corps Base Hawaii. They are still unaccounted for.
Hale'iwa Ali'i Beach Park will be closed for the next couple of days as rescue crews use the park for staging, according to the city. Parts of the Haleiwa small boat harbor will also be closed during this time, according to state land officials.
The Coast Guard, the Navy and the Honolulu Fire Department are searching a debris field that was spotted about 2.5 miles off the coast. The Coast Guard has also implemented boats from Maui and Hilo.
The cause of the crash is under investigation by the Marine Corps.
A reminder from the Honolulu Fire Department -- they say the debris from the crash could be washing ashore. Anyone who comes across debris is asked to call the U.S. Coast Guard immediately at (808) 535-3372.
A civilian on the beach notified the Coast Guard about the chopper crash. The person saw aircraft flying then disappear and a fireball.
One of the missing Marines has been identified as Capt. Kevin Roche. His family issued the following statement:
"Captain Kevin Roche is a passionate Marine who loves his family and his country - and we love him. We believe the Marines and Coast Guard are doing everything they can to bring Kevin and his fellow Marines home safely and we are grateful to everyone involved in the rescue. Our family appreciates the prayers and encouragement we have received as we watch, wait and pray for Kevin's safe return."
From Marine Corps:
1st MARINE AIRCRAFT WING, MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII – The Marine Corps can confirm there is an active search and rescue operation ongoing for two CH-53E helicopters off the coast of Oahu. The CH-53E's involved in the incident were carrying a total of 12 Marine crew members.
The U.S. Coast Guard is currently conducting search and rescue operations and will be joined in their search efforts by Marines with Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing under a Unified Search and Rescue Command.
We ask the public to not touch any debris that comes ashore from the CH-53s that crashed and to respect any cordons the Honolulu Fire Department and Police have established. Please note the location of debris and call 1-808-535-3333.
The aircraft are from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463, MAG 24, 1st MAW from Marine Corps Base Hawaii. We will provide more details as they become available.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell released the following statement:
"Everyone at the City and County has been deeply impacted by this incident and our hearts are breaking for the friends and 'ohana of the Marines involved.First responders with the Honolulu Fire Department, the Honolulu Police Department and the Ocean Safety Division have been doing all they can to assist in the search for survivors. A unified command post has been established at Hale‘iwa Small Boat Harbor to direct search and rescue efforts.A fire boat was deployed last night in an effort to locate survivors and wreckage from the apparent collision, but had to return to shore due to rising surf from an extremely large northwest swell. HFD’s helicopter has been assisting in the search, as well as a three watercraft rescue crews with the Ocean Safety Division. The city is working with military, federal and state DLNR partners to assist in the search and rescue efforts.The Department of Parks and Recreation has made Hale'iwa Ali'i Beach Park available as a recovery area. As a result, the park is closed to the public today. Residents or visitors who come across any debris from the accident are asked to call the Coast Guard immediately at (808) 535-3372, and refrain from moving or touching the objects until they are retrieved."
Story, video and photo gallery: http://www.kitv.com
HONOLULU — A Stayton High School graduate was one of the Marines aboard a helicopter that collided into another Marine chopper off the Hawaiian island of Oahu early Friday morning, according to the Marine's family.
Ty Hart, 21, was one of 12 crew members aboard the two helicopters, Hart's family told KGW's Katherine Cook.
"The aircraft are from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463, Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing from Marine Corps Base Hawaii," a Marine Corps statement said.
Hart, a crew chief, got married six months ago, according to a family spokesperson. Hart's family is waiting for updates about the crash and requesting privacy.
Hart graduated from Stayton High School in 2012 and played on the Stayton Eagles football team.
None of the Marines aboard the helicopters have been located.
Navy destroyers Gridley and John Paul Jones are taking part in search and rescue efforts along with the Coast Guard cutter Kiska and an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, officials said. A Coast Guard A C-130J was also part of the search but had to land when a bird struck it, said Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Scott Carr.
Marine Corps Base Hawaii posted a message on its Facebook page asking members of the public not to touch any debris from the helicopters that washes ashore and to respect any local police or fire department cordons around debris.
"Please note the location of debris and we will provide you a number to call very shortly," the message says.
Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Sara Mooers told The Associated Press that the Marine Corps reported a collision of two helicopters off the coast just before midnight, or 5 a.m. EST.
Mooers said each aircraft had six people aboard and that a debris field has been spotted 2½ miles off the coast, near the town of Haleiwa.
Twelve Marines are missing and feared to be dead after two military rotorcraft collided off the north shore of the Hawaiian island of Oahu late Thursday.
Houston-area Marines, Maj. Shawn Campbell and as Cpl. Matthew Drown are believed to be among the missing. Campbell attended Klein High School and Texas A&M University. Drown graduated from Klein Oak High School in 2011 .
Late Thursday night, the Coast Guard got word that two helicopters collided off the north shore of Owe Oahu during a training exercise. The Coast Guard, Navy, and local first responders searched by air and sea.
Rain, clouds, and high surf have made the search more of a challenge. Waves are expected to reach 30 feet. The only clue searchers have recovered is a small debris field about two miles off the coast. There is no sign of the 12 on board.
There are resources available for Marines and their families aboard the base. The families of the Marines are receiving constant contact concerning their loved ones and the search effort.
The mother of one of the missing Marines released a statement, "We appreciate your thoughts and your prayers, and our hearts go out to the other 11 families that are going through this horrible time as we are."
Campbell is stationed at the base in Hawaii. He's married with four children who also live in Hawaii.
Drown was a loving uncle who took great pride in his service, his brother Sean Drown said in an email to KPRC 2. Sean's email went on to say, "He loved his family, friends and everyone he had the chance to meet. He never met a stranger and was always willing to help anyone he could. We are still hoping for his safe return home."
Story, video and photo gallery: http://www.click2houston.com
U.S. Marines walk on the beach at Waimea Bay near Haleiwa, Hawaii, where two military helicopters crashed into the ocean about 2 miles offshore, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016. The helicopters carrying 12 crew members collided off the Hawaiian island of Oahu during a nighttime training mission, and rescuers are searching a debris field in choppy waters Friday, military officials said.
A U.S. Marine walks on the beach at Waimea Bay near Haleiwa, Hawaii, where two military helicopters crashed into the ocean about 2 miles offshore, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016. The helicopters carrying 12 crew members collided off the Hawaiian island of Oahu during a nighttime training mission, and rescuers are searching a debris field in choppy waters Friday, military officials said.
Press conference highlights:
- Marines lost contact with two helicopters during routine training at 10:45 p.m. Thursday.
- No distress calls reported at time of crash.
- Leave the search to professionals. Do not enter the water or touch debris.
- Haleiwa Alii Beach Park and the surrounding area will be closed for several days.
A massive search-and-rescue effort is underway after two Marine Corps helicopters crashed off Haleiwa late Thursday night.
Honolulu police closed off Haleiwa Alii Beach Park to the public Friday as a unified command post has been established at Haleiwa Small Boat Harbor to direct efforts in hopes to find survivors. A total of 12 crew members from both helicopters are missing.
The public is advised to stay out of the area over the next several days during the rescue and recovery operation.
Marine officials contacted the Coast Guard about the missing aircraft around 11 p.m. (4 a.m. Friday ET). The Honolulu Fire Department received calls around the same time from Kahaone Loop in Waialua.
Witnesses told KHON2 they called 911 at around 10:45 p.m. after hearing what sounded like a sonic boom. Residents said it felt like an earthquake.
“We heard a helicopter and it kind of sounded like, I don’t know, something off. It sounded like extremely loud and rumbling, like engine problems,” said Melissa Bush. “All of a sudden, we didn’t hear the helicopter. We looked out and there was literally fire, and right in front of us, fire and flames coming down… As they were coming down, all of a sudden you see a big fire explosion and then all of a sudden we didn’t see anything. It went black.”
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said that the city is working with military, federal and state DLNR partners to assist in the efforts. A total of four Jetskis are helping from Ocean Safety, with two of them devoted to the mission.
In a press conference Friday, it was reported that a group of over 50 Marines are at the command post to help identify debris from the collision that the Coast Guard has located. Search lights have been brought in to help with the effort.
USCG Lt. Scott Carr said a safety zone has been established between Kaena Point and Turtle Bay seven miles offshore where the debris “consistent with military aircraft” has been found.
He said weather conditions are making things difficult. “With 10 to 12 knot winds, swells at 16 feet, and breaking surf at 30 feet, it’s moving the debris all over the place.”
As of Friday afternoon, no dive teams were sent into the water. “It’s just barely safe for our rescue crews to be out there,” Carr said, “so it’s not safe for divers just yet.”
Two U.S. Marine Corps CH-53E heavy-lift transport helicopters went missing off the North Shore of Oahu late Thursday, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
USMC Capt. Timothy Irish said Friday morning that the helicopters were involved in “a routine preplanned training mission from a unit permanently assigned to the base to fly at night and return to the base.”
Marine Corps Major Gregory, assistant operations officer with the community aircraft group, added in a later press conference at the beach park that this was part of a weekly training mission for increasing combat readiness, specifically landings and low-level flight in the training area.
“Any time you fly at night, there’s going to be a risk,” he said, “but it was a training mission … (with) no increased level of danger or increased levels of threats to them.” The major added that there was no information available as to whether a Mayday or distress signal was sent previous to the accident.
According to Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Sara Mooers, the missing aircraft, from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463, Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, had a total of 12 people (6 on each helicopter) on board the two aircraft.
Searchers spotted a fire and a debris field, including an empty life raft, about 2.5 miles north of Haleiwa Beach, according to Mooers. The debris field was about 1.5 miles wide.
The Coast Guard cutters Ahi and Kiska are part of the rescue and recovery mission. Ahi is an 87-foot patrol boat that was in Maui. Kiska is a 110-foot patrol boat that reached the search area from Hilo at about 5 a.m.
The cause of the accident is under investigation by the Marine Corps.
An emergency family service center has been established at the Marine Corps Base Hawaii. The base has also posted on Facebook phone numbers for family member affected by the incident to receive support.
Families affected by the CH-53E mishap may utilize the C.A.A.R.E Center located at building 216 aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii. The C.A.A.R.E Center offers counseling, support and childcare for anyone needing assistance. Please stop by their office or call them at any of the following numbers. Please share to help spread the word.
A crisis support page has been posted on the Marine Corps Base Hawaii website.
In May 2015, a Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey aircraft crashed in Waimanalo during a training exercise, killing two Marines. Twenty-two people, one Navy Corpsman and 21 Marines, were on-board.
Crews involved in the search are:
MH-65 Dolphin helicopter
HC-130 Hercules airplane
MH-60 helicopter from Kaneohe Bay
Honolulu Fire Department
Story, video, photo gallery, comments: http://khon2.com
The Marine Corps says two CH-53 transport helicopters, like the ones shown here, from the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing out of Kaneohe Bay crashed off Oahu’s North Shore late Thursday night.
Two military helicopters collided off Oahu’s North Shore late Thursday night.
A search vessel cruises the waters off the beach at Haleiwa, Hawaii, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016. Two Marine helicopters carrying 12 crew members collided off the island of Oahu during a nighttime training mission, and rescuers are searching a debris field in choppy waters, military officials said.
Fire Department rescue personnel stand near a department helicopter near the beach at Haleiwa, Hawaii, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016. Two Marine helicopters carrying 12 crew members collided off the island of Oahu during a nighttime training mission, and rescuers are searching a debris field in choppy waters, military officials said.
Jetskiers brave high surf outside of Haleiwa today. Two U.S. Marine helicopters collided late Thursday night over the ocean and a search began pre-dawn today in high surf for the Marines onboard.
Beachgoers watched the waves in Haleiwa this morning. The National Weather Service says North Shore waves are expected to peak today at 30 to 40 feet.