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Truckee Sailor Dies In Navy Helicopter Crash

 Official U.S. Navy Imagery / Flickr

Official U.S. Navy Imagery / Flickr

The Navy says the helicopter crash off the coast of Virginia killed two sailors and left a pilot from Southern California missing.

The Navy said in a statement that the search for the pilot, the only person missing among the five crew members, was called off Thursday after the Coast Guard searched a 500-square-mile area by air and sea for 30 hours after the Wednesday crash.

Naval officials say the pilot, Lt. Sean Christopher Snyder, is a 39-year-old from Santee northeast of San Diego.

The Navy announced earlier Thursday that two of the four crewmembers rescued died from their injuries. They were identified as 25-year-old Petty Officer 3rd Class Brian Collins of Truckee near Lake Tahoe and 29-year-old Lt. J. Wesley Van Dorn of Greensboro, N.C. Officials said Collins had served in the Navy for about two years.

The names and hometowns of the two crew members who survived the crash were not released. 

The Navy described the incident in the following statement:  

On Jan. 8, 2014 a Navy MH-53E helicopter crashed off the coast of Virginia Beach, Va. 

Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2 (MDSU 2) divers entered the water at approximately 5 p.m. on Jan. 9th in support of the search for the missing service member. Additional Navy assets including USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19), USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109), USNS Medgar Evers (T-AKE 13), USNS Grasp (T-ARS 51), and Navy H-60 helicopters continue search operations.

U.S. Coast Guard cutter Shearwater also continues to provide support. Virginia Beach Fire and Rescue small boats are no longer on-scene.

MDSU 2 located the wreckage 15nm east of Cape Henry utilizing side-scanning sonar. Grasp anchored over the wreckage to aid in inspecting the site with a Seabotix Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) prior to divers entering the water.

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