7 Marines, 4 Soldiers presumed dead after helicopter crash in Florida

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UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter [Antony Joseph | U.S. Army | Getty Imags]
According to officials, Seven Marines and four soldiers were missing early Wednesday following an Army helicopter crash in Florida, near Pensacola. All of the servicemen are presumed to be dead.

Eglin Air Force Base spokesman Andy Bourland said, “A search and rescue operation was launched after one of two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters participating in a routine nighttime training mission crashed.” He added, “The helicopter went down over water.”

Bourland said the missing Marines were from a special operations regiment out of Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. The helicopters and air crew were assigned to the Army National Guard unit out of Hammond, Louisiana.

Officials said a Coast Guard vessel recovered debris including the downed chopper’s tail rotor overnight. Searchers also found debris in the Okaloosa Island area near Eglin at about 2 a.m.

Bourland said they believe bad weather and heavy fog played a part in the crash. The crash scene is near a remote stretch of beach between Pensacola and Destin.

“Sadly, we have found some human remains,” Bourland said.

Bourland said finding the 11 servicemen dead was the military’s worst fear.

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