La. Guard says bodies of 2 crash victims found
NEW ORLEANS - The Louisiana National Guard confirmed the remains of two Hammond-based soldiers involved in the UH-60M Black Hawk training crash were recovered Thursday.
The announcement comes after authorities reported earlier in the morning that search efforts for survivors of the military helicopter crash in Florida have shifted to recovery of debris and remains. Seven Marines and four Louisiana-based Guard members were on the helicopter which crashed.
"At this point, we're not hopeful for survivors, and we are transitioning our search and rescue to a recovery effort," said Col. Monte Cannon, 96th Test Wing vice-commander.
The bodies of the remaining soldiers are believed to located in the wreckage, found via a sonar ping on Thursday morning, in the Santa Rosa Sound. A civilian salvage unit is being called in to recover the aircraft.
The Guardsmen were assigned to the 1-244th Assault Helicopter Battalion in Hammond. Their identities were not released, pending notification of their families.
"At times like these, words seem to offer little comfort. We are heartbroken. We are shocked. But we are a team ... standing together for the families and for each other." saud Maj. Gen. Curtis.
The Louisiana National Guard was engaging in a routine night-time training exercise with the United State Marine Corps when the Black Hawk helicopter crashed east of the Navarre Bridge in Florida on Mar. 10. Officials said heavy fog was in the area when the crash happened, and that it also hampered search efforts the following day.
The Associated Press reported that family members identified two of the Marines killed in the crash as 27-year-old Marcus Bawol of Michigan and Kerry Kemp of Wisconsin.