The crew of a US helicopter that crashed in the Pacific Ocean has been pronounced dead.
The United States Navy changed the search for the missing sailors to a wreck recovery operation. Five other sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, when the accident occurred, were also injured.
The U.S. Navy on Saturday confirmed the death of five of the crew of an MH-60S helicopter that crashed off the coast of California and was initially declared unaccounted for.
The ship, the Maritime Combat Helicopter Squadron, crashed last Tuesday during a routine flight operation from the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier, according to a statement from the Navy's 3rd Fleet.
The crash happened 60 nautical miles off the coast of San Diego, California.
The identities of the dead were not immediately disclosed, and notifications from their families are pending.
One day after the incident, on September 1, the Navy reported that a crew member had been rescued and was in stable condition.
Five other sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, where the MH-60S helicopter was operating on the deck before the crash, were also injured Tuesday. They were stable on Saturday, said Lt. Samuel R. Boyle, a spokesman for the Pacific Fleet. Two of those injured were taken ashore for treatment, although all were indicated to be stable.
What caused the crash about 70 miles from San Diego is being investigated. The fact that sailors aboard the carrier were injured raised questions about whether the helicopter or its parts collided with Abraham Lincoln. When the helicopters take off and land on the plane, the crew members are on a nearby carrier and the others work on the deck.
The MH-60S helicopter generally carries a crew of about four and is used in combat support, disaster relief, and search and rescue operations.
On the other hand, it was reported this Saturday that the search operations for the disappeared had been concluded to focus on the rescue of the bodies.
The search, which lasted more than 72 hours, involved five helicopters and vessels such as the USS Abraham Lincoln and the combat ship USS Cincinnati and units of the Coast Guard.