Navy ends search and rescue for copter off Colombia’s coast
ARLINGTON, Va. — The U.S. Navy has ended search and rescue efforts after the U.S. and Colombian navies failed to find three crewmembers of a SH-60B helicopter that crashed Tuesday while conducting counter narco-terrorism operations in waters off the west coast of Colombia.
“Search and rescue operations officially ended at approximately 6:15 p.m. on December 13 after exhaustive efforts by U.S. and Colombian Navy air and surface assets,” according to a Navy news release.
The names of those aboard the helicopter are being withheld pending notification of their next of kin, the release said.
The official status of the three crewmembers was unknown Wednesday, said Bill Austin, a spokesman for Naval Station Mayport, where the helicopter was based.
The Navy is now considering whether to launch an effort to recover the helicopter’s wreckage, “But no final decision has been made at this time,” Austin said.
He said he did not know when the Navy would decide whether to launch a recovery effort.
The cause of the crash is under investigation, Austin said.
The helicopter had just left the deck of the frigate USS De Wert when it went down Tuesday morning, he said.