Thursday, March 12, 2:46 a.m.: Military officials say the search for seven Marines and four soldiers aboard a helicopter that crashed off the Florida coast is still considered a search and rescue mission, even though all 11 are presumed dead. Human remains were found Wednesday before the weather deteriorated, hampering the search. A spokesman for nearby Eglin Air Force Base says, "There is always room for optimism."


10:45 A.M

About a dozen airmen wearing fatigues walked shoulder to shoulder down a foggy beach, looking at the sand for any sign of 11 missing Marines and soldiers who were aboard a helicopter that was reported missing Tuesday night.

The airmen searching the beach appeared to be holding portable GPS units. Searchers with dogs were also on the beach, along with law enforcement and rescue crews from a number of agencies in the area. The fog was still heavy.


10:30 A.M.

Sara Vidoni, a spokeswoman for Eglin Air Force Base, says military officials and local law enforcement are focusing their search for 11 missing Marines and soldiers on the Santa Rosa Sound, a narrow waterway separating Santa Rosa Island from Florida's mainland.

A Pentagon official said the 11 service members are presumed dead and that the Coast Guard found debris in the water. The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the official wasn't authorized to speak on the record.

Heavy fog has been hampering search efforts. From the beach, search boats can be heard blasting horns as they combed the water, but they could not be seen through the fog.


9:30 A.M

Crews have found human remains connected to the Army helicopter crash. Seven Marines and four soldiers were aboard when it crashed over waters off Florida during a training mission.

Sara Vidoni is a spokeswoman for Eglin Air Force Base. She said Wednesday that human remains have washed ashore, but crews are still considering it a search-and-rescue mission.

Eglin spokesman Andy Bourland says the helicopter — a UH-60 Black Hawk from the Army National Guard — was reported missing around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, and crews found debris around 2 a.m. Wednesday.


PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) — Seven Marines and four soldiers are missing after an Army helicopter crashed over water during a night training exercise at Eglin Air Force Base in the Florida Panhandle.

Officials say heavy fog is hampering today's search efforts.

The area where the crash happened Tuesday night was under a fog advisory.

Base officials say the Marines are part of a special operations group based in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. The soldiers are from a Hammond, Louisiana-based National Guard unit.

Eglin spokesman Andy Bourland says the helicopter was reported missing about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, and search and rescue crews found debris from the crash about 2 a.m. Wednesday.

The UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter went down during a routine training mission on a remote swath of beach between Pensacola and Destin.

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