Searchers have recovered pieces of a Marine Corps helicopter that crashed into the Pacific Ocean during practice takeoffs and landings. There is no sign of the four crew members aboard.
Rescue crews looked all day Thursday for the crew from Marines Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 267. Just before dark, officials said the first remnants of the UH-1 Huey were discovered by one of the military crews helping with the search."They've found a few bits and pieces," said Lt. Nancy Olson. "They did find a piece of wreckage with a serial number on it. It is from the helicopter."
Camp Pendleton officials were to decide today whether to continue searching.
The crew members were identified as Capt. Barry Fleming, 28, a pilot from Northbrook, Ill.; Capt. Robert Falkenbach, 27, a pilot from Bumpass, Va.; Staff Sgt. Steven King, 28, a mechanic from Lowndes, Miss.; and Sgt. Barry Coleman, 28, a crew chief from Baldwin, Ala.
Pendleton officials said they weren't giving up hope that the Marines, who went down 12 miles from shore late Wednesday, could still be alive.
"But, common sense tells you that the longer they're out there, the more chances diminish that they survived," Lt. David Nevers said.
The UH-1 Huey helicopter was practicing takeoffs and landings from the USS Rushmore. The crew was not using night vision goggles, Nevers said.
It was not immediately known what caused the helicopter to plummet into the ocean. Nevers said visibility was apparently clear and the weather was calm at the time of the crash.