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All Survive Navy Helicopter Crash in West Virginia

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS100219-05
Release Date: 2/19/2010 2:50:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Scott Cohen, Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- The commodore of Helicopter Sea Combat Wing Atlantic held a press conference with local media to announce all 17 personnel on board the Navy MH-60S Nighthawk from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 26 based at Naval Station Norfolk, were successfully rescued from the aircraft.

The helicopter crashed yesterday shortly after 1 p.m. on the side of a mountain in West Virginia in more than four feet of snow.

"Our primary focus has been the safe evacuation of all the aircrew and passengers," said Capt. Steve Schreiber, commodore, Helicopter Sea Combat Wing Atlantic. "As of this morning all personnel have either been evacuated from the crash site or are being evacuated."

There were injuries reported, ranging from minor bruises to fractures, but none of the injuries are considered life threatening.

Those aboard the helicopter included 11 Navy, four National Guard personnel and two Marines. Nine of the passengers have been treated and released at Elkins Medical Facility, and one is currently inbound to Elkins. Three have been admitted for treatment and four are being transported to UVA Trauma Center in Charlottesville.

Schreiber lauded the heroic efforts of the crew and passengers, as well as the rescuers first on the scene.

"I'd like to thank the West Virginia National Guard and the local responders for their heroic work. Their efforts were extraordinary and took place under the most difficult of situations," said Schreiber. "The rescuers had to traverse more than three miles from the nearest road through heavily wooded and mountainous terrain to reach the crash site. A special thanks to the Snowshoe Mountain Ski Resort for providing Snowcats that enabled first responders to reach the site."

The crew spent the night on the mountain and had to wait for rescuers to reach them, but they were prepared to weather the adverse conditions.

The cause of the crash is currently under investigation.

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