The US Navy has deployed a multi-purpose support ship to search for a US Army MH-60 Blackhawk helicopter that crashed in the Mediterranean Sea.
The aircraft carried five servicemen from the US Army Special Operations when the incident occurred on November 10. The team was conducting routine flight training in the region.
By November 13, the soldiers lost were identified by the US Department of Defense.
No signs of enemy or hostile actions related to the accident were found, the agency said.
Search From Sicily
For the retrieval operation, the US Navy contracted an NG Worker recovery vessel carrying a Supervisor of Salvage and Diving team from Augusta Bay, Sicily, to the crash site.
NG Worker is a 288-foot (87.7-meter) offshore supply vessel with advanced underwater positioning and survey technologies.
Upon arrival, the group will launch a shallow water intermediate search system or SWISS alongside a towed pinger locator to search for the helicopter.
SWISS is a side-scan sonar, while the locator identifies the approximate area of downed military or commercial aircraft.
Additional sensors will be leveraged to effectively “listen” for the pinger frequency integrated into the craft.
After the MH-60 is found, the navy will employ a Deep Drone remote-operated submersible vehicle to assist in the lifting phase. Deep Drone is a 4,100-pound (1,860-kilogram) system developed to address gaps in mid-water salvage requirements to a maximum depth of 8,000 feet (2.4 kilometers/1.5 miles).
Update on Japan Osprey Crash
Meanwhile, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin released a statement regarding a separate crash in November off Yakushima Island in Japan.
The accident involved a US Air Force CV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft carrying eight personnel in transit between the Iwakuni US base and the Kadena base in Okinawa.
The CV-22 was commissioned at the US Yokota air base in Tokyo.
“The entire Department of Defense mourns alongside the families and the loved ones of those who lost their lives today in the service of their country,” Austin said.
“We continue to gather information on this tragic incident, and we will conduct a rigorous and thorough investigation.”
“The United States is grateful to Japan’s Coast Guard, Self-Defense forces, and local communities – including fishermen – for their search and rescue efforts.”