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Navy copter crash kills 3; two missing

Associated Press / May 21, 2009
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SAN DIEGO - Searchers recovered three bodies and scoured the ocean for two more members of a Navy flight crew yesterday after their helicopter went down in darkness on a training flight, authorities said.

The HH-60 Seahawk helicopter took off from the USS Nimitz and crashed at 11:36 Tuesday, 13 miles southwest of San Diego and 87 miles from the Nimitz.

"There were five crew members on board and three deaths have been confirmed," said Lieutenant Karen Burzynski, spokeswoman for the Navy's Third Fleet, in San Diego.

Debris and wreckage from the crash were found about 15 miles south of San Diego's Point Loma peninsula, said Jetta Disco, a Coast Guard spokeswoman.

Helicopters and boats from the Navy, Coast Guard, San Diego Harbor police, US Customs and Border Protection, and the Mexican Navy were searching for survivors in an area near the uninhabited Coronado Islands off the northwest coast of Mexico, said Coast Guard Petty Officer Henry Dunphy.

There was no information on the cause of the crash, and names of the crew were withheld while authorities notified their families.

The helicopter was part of an antisubmarine squadron from Carrier Air Wing 11. The Nimitz and a half-dozen other ships in its strike group were taking part in search-and-rescue training exercises.

The Seahawk is a twin-engine helicopter.