Tuesday, August 29, 2017

USCG Suspends Aviator Search

By Karen Robes Meeks

The US Coast Guard (USCG) has suspended its search for five Army aviators who have been missing for more than a week off Oahu. The search started August 15 when the Coast Guard received word from Wheeler Army Airfield that they lost communication with one of its UH-60 Black Hawk aircrews, who were conducting night training operations between Ka'ena Point and Dillingham Airfield.

Search teams scoured more than 72,575 square nautical miles in more than 132 separate searches that started off of Ka'ena Point, Oahu, and extended west beyond Kauai and Ni'ihau, according to the Coast Guard.

“A decision to suspend searching without finding survivors is extremely difficult given the depth of its impact and I know I speak for the entire Coast Guard when I say our thoughts and prayers are with Army helicopter squadron and particularly with families and loved ones of those missing,” said Rear Adm. Vincent B. Atkins, commander of the Coast Guard 14th District. “Our Coast Guard crews relied on their training and professionalism in this dynamic environment to mount the best response possible and I want to thank all our partners, the Navy, Army, the Hawaii Department of Natural Resources, Fire, Police and Ocean Safety for their extraordinary efforts. As we suspend the search we stand ready to support any future operations the Army conducts, and continue to provide any comfort we can for those suffering from this tragic loss.”