Navy divers back in the water at helicopter crash site off Virginia coast

By MIKE HIXENBAUGH | The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot | Published: January 13, 2014

Navy divers were back in the water this morning at the site where a Navy helicopter crashed into the Atlantic Ocean last week, killing at least two of five crew members.

A fifth sailor remains missing at sea.

Navy divers from Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2, based at Little Creek, suspended search-and-recovery operations late Friday due to rough weather and returned to the crash site Sunday, said Lt. Lauren Cole, a spokeswoman with U.S. Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk.

The salvage ship Grasp is anchored above the wreckage, located about 18 miles off Cape Henry. Patrol boats from Riverine Squadron 2 are also on scene providing security, Cole said.

Lt. Wesley Van Dorn, 29, a pilot, and Petty Officer 3rd Class Brian Collins, 25, an aircrew member, died at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital on Wednesday after going down with their MH-53 Sea Dragon. Two other crew members were plucked from the frigid water by a Navy rescue helicopter, and both have left the hospital.

Lt. Sean Christopher Snyder, 39, of Santee, Calif., also a pilot, remains missing.

An MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter lifts off from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman on Dec. 12, 2013.


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