The U.S. Coast Guard suspended their search for the soldiers and marines missing near Santa Rosa, Florida, on Thursday.
Seven U.S. Marines and four soldiers went missing after their army helicopter crashed at sea in foggy conditions during a training exercise. The helicopter was reported missing at about 8:30 p.m. March 10. A second helicopter involved in the training exercise returned safely. The helicopters are assigned to the 1-244th Assault Helicopter Battalion in Hammond, Louisiana.
The accident occurred about 50 miles east of Pensacola, near Elgin Air Force Base, and search and rescue crews have recovered debris and human remains, but heavy fog has hampered their efforts.
Response crews suspended their search in the Santa Rosa Sound at 12:48 p.m. “The decision to suspend is always difficult,” said Layne Carter, search and rescue mission coordinator. “With heavy hearts, we have decided to suspend active search and rescue operations. Our thoughts and prayers are with the friends and family of the members involved in this tragedy.”
Coast Guard and local responders have continuously searched for more than 36 hours in a 94 square-mile area.
The Coast Guard is providing technical consultation and advice to the army as salvage operations focus on recovering the remaining fuselage and debris.