Military Chopper Crash in Florida Panhandle

Updated, revised 6:30 p.m. ET

The search for 11 soldiers aboard an army Black Hawk helicopter continued today with fog slowing down the search.  The military chopper crashed Tuesday night  in the Gulf waters near Eglin Air Force Base in the Florida panhandle.  The soliders were 7 special operations marines and 4 army soldiers from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and the National Guard in Hammond, Louisiana.  Debris  from the wreckage also has washed up ashore along the Santa Rosa Sound, which connects Florida to a barrier island area.

“The accident is under investigation,” said an Eglin AFB news release this morning.

It is presumed no one survived the helicopter crash. Names are being withheld until next of kin are notified.  Prayers also are requested for the missing soldiers and their families.

The helicopter was reported missing around 8:3o p.m. Central Time Tuesday.  It was involved in a night-time training exercise with another Black Hawk helicopter. The second helicopter and soldiers on board returned safely to Elgin AFB.  After 6:30 p.m. Central Time Tuesday, fog was in the area as the training exercise began and a dense fog advisory was issued for Okaloosa County before midnight, according to WTSP-TV meteorologist Jim Van Fleet and other Tampa area meteorologists. Fog may have played a role in this crash.

Search and rescue crews found debris from the downed chopper around 2 a.m. Wednesday.

The crash and military training site is near Eglin range A-17, east of Navarre Bridge, a private remote area between Pensacola and Destin, Florida.

—Carol Lim

Source: Eglin AFB News Release, http://www.wear.com, CNN, CBS, NBC, ABC News

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