Fog hampers air search for missing helicopter crew - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Fog hampers air search for missing helicopter crew

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) - Authorities searching for three missing crew members after the crash of a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter in the Gulf of Mexico say fog has hampered the air search, but divers were planning another attempt to get inside the submerged aircraft.

The MH-65C helicopter crashed Tuesday evening in Mobile Bay, near Point Clear, Ala., Petty Officer 2nd Class Elizabeth Bordelon said.

She said one crew member was found unresponsive, and was later declared dead.

Chief Petty Officer John Edwards said shortly before 6 a.m. that fog was beginning to clear and visibility was improving. He said divers overnight had gone to the site of the helicopter, in about 13 feet of water, but were unable to gain access to its fuselage. He said they planned to try again Wednesday morning.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

One crewmember is dead and three others were missing following a helicopter crash in Alabama during a training mission, U.S. Coast Guard officials said.

The MH-65C helicopter crashed Tuesday evening in Mobile Bay, near Point Clear, Ala., Petty Officer 2nd Class Elizabeth Bordelon said.

A crewmember was found unresponsive and later declared dead, the Coast Guard said in a news release early Wednesday.

"Our main concern is locating the three remaining crew members," Bordelon told The Associated Press early Wednesday.

The aircraft had departed the Aviation Training Center in Mobile, Ala., on a training mission earlier Tuesday, Bordelon said. Coast Guard officials say it went down about two to three miles southwest of Point Clear. The three missing are Coast Guard members.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the crewmembers during this difficult time," Capt. Don Rose, commanding officer of Coast Guard Sector Mobile, said in a statement early Wednesday.

"We are working through the night to continue to conduct a robust search for the three crewmembers who are still missing and we appreciate the assistance of all of the agencies and personnel who are volunteering their time and resources to assist with the search and rescue efforts," Rose said.

The Coast Guard says two helicopters, an airplane and several vessels are involved in the search for the missing crewmembers.

"We have some dive support folks to help us to the degree we have to go under the water," Rose told WALA-TV.

"We're going to continue to search, were going to continue to go down," Rose said. "We know where the wreckage is so were going to look there as well."

The missing crew members are "very well outfitted with survival gear wearing cold weather exposure suits," Rose said.

"So yes, they are very well prepared with survival gear, and they train to survive in the event of a helicopter crash," he said.

Rose said a briefing is planned for 6 a.m. in Mobile to provide an update on the search.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

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