High surf complicates search for 12 missing Marines


Associated Press

HALEIWA, Hawaii

Rescuers battled winds of up to 23 mph and waves up to 30 feet Saturday as they searched for 12 Marines who are missing after two helicopters crashed off the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

The winds and the waves dispersed the debris and complicated the search, which was expanded Saturday to include waters off Oahu’s west coast.

“It makes finding things incredibly difficult,” Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Scott Carr said.

The Coast Guard was notified late Thursday of the crash by a civilian who saw the aircraft flying then disappear and a fireball.

The Marines were alerted when the CH-53E helicopters carrying six crew members each failed to return to their base at Kaneohe Bay after a nighttime training mission. Hours later, a Coast Guard helicopter and C-130 airplane spotted debris 21/2 miles off Oahu.

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