Recovery, salvage ops conclude for Black Hawk crash

| October 5, 2017 | 0 Comments

25th Infantry Division
Public Affairs

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — All active operations to locate aircrew members’ remains and retrieve wreckage from a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter that crashed off the island of Oahu, Aug. 15, have ended.

Officials from the 25th Infantry Division ended the monthlong recovery and salvage operation after they determined it was unlikely additional aircrew remains would be found. Additionally, investigators determined enough physical and visual evidence had been collected to allow a thorough investigation into the crash.

Recovery and salvage operations began Aug. 21 after a U.S. Coast Guard-led search and rescue operation was suspended without locating the five aircrew members or the helicopter. All five aircrew – 1st Lt. Kathryn M. Bailey, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Brian M. Woeber, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Stephen T. Cantrell, Staff Sgt. Abigail R. Milam, and Staff Sgt. Michael L. Nelson – were declared deceased.

Using unmanned underwater vehicles and submersible remotely operated vehicles, Navy salvage divers systematically mapped the ocean floor off Kaena Point. Once divers identified the main debris field, they began dive operations from the Motor Vessel HOS Dominator, earlier this month, to search for aircrew members’ remains as they recovered UH-60 aircraft wreckage and components deemed necessary for the investigation.

Navy elements involved in the planning and conduct of recovery operations were the U.S. Pacific Fleet, U.S. 3rd Fleet, and Mobile Dive and Salvage Unit One. Army elements involved were U.S. Army-Pacific, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, 9th Mission Support Command, the Army Combat Readiness Center, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, and the 25th ID.

The Armed Forces DNA Investigative Lab, the Armed Forces Medical Examiner’s Office, the U.S. Coast Guard, and numerous state and local agencies also provided support.

There is the chance that some small debris not recovered may eventually wash ashore. Debris from the crash is considered hazardous and should only be handled by recovery teams with the proper training and personal protective equipment. The debris poses potential risk and could cause serious bodily harm due to sharp edges.

The investigation into the circumstances of this incident are ongoing.

Finding Debris
Those who see or encounter debris consistent with this type of aircraft along the west side of Oahu are asked to report it to responders by calling the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade Staff Duty Officer at (808) 656-1080.

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