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Search Continues Off Djibouti for Helicopter Crewmembers

American Forces Press Service

CAMP LEMONIER, Djibouti, Feb. 18, 2006 – Search and rescue operations continue off the coast here for 10 crewmembers still missing after two U.S. Marine Corps CH-53 helicopters crashed with 12 crewmembers aboard, military officials reported.

Two crewmembers were rescued from the site and were taken back to Camp Lemonier, where one underwent knee surgery. The second crewmember suffered muscular and skeletal bruising, no fractures, and may have inhaled contaminated sea water, officials said. Both were listed in stable condition, and were to be transported to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany today.

The helicopters were part of the HMH 464 squadron based at Marine Corps Air Station New River, an active duty unit in Jacksonville, N.C. The helicopters were flying a two-hour training mission in the Godoria Range area in northern Djibouti. The weather at the time of the mishap was reported to be partly cloudy, about 80 degrees, with light to variable winds and unlimited visibility, officials said.

The cause of the crash is unknown, and an investigation into the accident is under way, officials said. Identity of the crewmembers is being withheld pending next-of-kin notifications.

(Courtesy of U.S. Central Command.)

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