Search for missing sailor called off after helicopter crash off Virginia


Authorities say there were five personnel aboard the MH-53E helicopter when it went down about 20 miles east of the Fort Story/Virginia Beach area in the Atlantic Ocean at about 11 a.m. ET Wednesday.

Four people were rescued from chilly, 42-degree waters and were rushed to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, but two of them succumbed to their injuries. The U.S. Navy identified them as Brian Collins, a 29-year-old petty officer 3rd class, from Truckee, Calif., and Lt. Wesley Van Dorn, 29, of Greensboro, N.C.

Two other crew members were hospitalized. One was released from the hospital Thursday, and the other could be released as soon as Friday, an official said.

The Coast Guard had searched an area of 500 square miles by air and sea for the fifth crew member, but the search was called off at 3:30 p.m. Thursday.

"We're not actively looking, but we have an on-the-scene presence," said Capt. John Little, Coast Guard section commander. Little said the frigid temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean contributed to the decision to end the active rescue effort.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

The MH-53E is a variant of the CH-53 heavy lift helicopter that is used as a minesweeper. The CH-53's are the largest helicopters in the U.S. military's inventory.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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