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All 12 Crewmembers 'Accounted For' After Crash Off Djibouti Coast

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 18, 2006 – All 12 crewmembers aboard two Marine CH-53E heavy-lift helicopters that crashed yesterday off the coast of Djibouti have been accounted for, Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa officials reported in a statement issued today.

Citing ongoing family notifications, officials did not release any information regarding the crewmembers' status or condition.

Two crewmembers were rescued shortly after the crash and were taken to Camp Lemonier, Djibouti, 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 the Army's Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany today.

Officials said search and rescue operations have been "curtailed," but that recovery efforts continue for pertinent information, equipment and wreckage to aid the investigation board that will determine the cause of the crash.

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 crash was reported to be partly cloudy, about 80 degrees, with light to variable winds and unlimited visibility, officials said

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