Navy recovers bodies of five sailors who died in Aug. 31 helicopter crash
The Navy has recovered the bodies of five sailors who died Aug. 31 when their MH-60S Seahawk helicopter flipped off the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln off the coast of San Diego, Naval Air Forces announced Tuesday.
The bodies of Petty Officer 2nd Class James P. Buriak, Petty Officer 2nd Class Sarah F. Burns, Lt. Bradley A. Foster, Lt. Paul R. Fridley and Petty Officer 3rd Class Bailey J. Tucker were recovered Friday with the wreckage of the helicopter about 5,300 feet below the surface, according to a Naval Air Forces statement.
Divers for the Naval Sea Systems Command recovered the bodies, bringing them aboard the multipurpose service vessel HOS Bayou, according to the statement. The ship arrived at Naval Air Station North Island, Calif. on Sunday.
The remains were then taken to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware for identification, Naval Air Forces said.
The crash was the first fatal Navy aviation crash of 2021, according to a Naval Safety Center report. The Seahawk had just touched down aboard the Lincoln when it “experienced side-to-side vibrations causing the main rotor to strike [the] flight deck,” according to a Naval Safety Center report.
The helicopter then fell over the side of the carrier and into the ocean off the coast of San Diego, according to the report. One sailor was rescued.
Five additional Abraham Lincoln sailors were injured in the incident, but the Navy has not released further details about how they were hurt. Two were taken to San Diego for treatment while the others were treated on board for minor injuries, the service said Sept. 1.
The crash was the 10th “aviation class-A mishap” this year, which the service defines as one that causes a fatality or permanent total disability, more than $2.5 million in damages or destroys an aircraft, according to the report.
The incident remains under investigation, according to the statement.