Saturday, January 16, 2016

U.S. Marine helicopters crash off Hawaii, search underway for crews

A drone flies above water. (

The search for 12 Marines missing at sea after two helicopters collided near the island of Oahu in Hawaii was being hampered by high waves, U.S. Coast Guard officials said on Friday.

Two Coast Guard cutters and several Coast Guard aircraft were searching
, along with two U.S. Navy warships and local police and fire department helicopters, Coast Guard spokeswoman Petty Officer Second Class Melissa McKenzie said.

"We remain hopeful" that survivors could be found, she said.

The CH-53E helicopters, belonging to the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing from the Marine Corps Air Station at Kaneohe Bay, were reported to have collided just before midnight local time (0500 ET), Coast Guard spokeswoman Sara Mooers said.

The wide-ranging search for the Marines was hampered by high surf and poor visibility from rain storms. The National Weather Service warned that a northwest swell would bring 35 foot to 45 foot surf to the area through Friday.

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