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US Navy helicopter crashes off coast of Southern California

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-09-01 13:48
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LOS ANGELES - A US Navy helicopter crashed Tuesday afternoon off the coast of San Diego, California, prompting search and rescue operations by sea and air, according to the US Navy's 3rd Fleet.

"An MH-60S helicopter embarked aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) crashed into the sea while conducting routine flight operations approximately 60 nautical miles off the coast of San Diego at 4:30 pm PST, Aug 31," the fleet's commander said in a statement.

The statement did not reveal how many people were on board and whether there were any casualties, saying "more information will be posted as it becomes available."

However, local ABC news channel reported later that a US Coast Guard spokesman said preliminary information indicated that one person had been rescued and five people were still unaccounted for.

The Navy is expected to release a statement later tonight with further details, the report said.

CVN 72 is the fifth Nimitz-class aircraft carrier in the Navy and a member of the US Pacific Fleet. The battleship's home port is Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego.

The US Pacific Fleet confirmed the crash on its official Twitter page Tuesday night, saying, "Search and rescue operations are ongoing with multiple Coast Guard and Navy air and surface assets."

The MH-60S is a versatile aircraft that typically carries a crew of four, and is used in missions including combat support, humanitarian disaster relief and search and rescue.

The incident came just 12 days after Capt. Amy Bauernschmidt took over command of CVN 72, becoming the first woman to lead a nuclear carrier in US Navy history.

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