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Crews Search For Marines Lost In Helicopter Crash Sea Knight Sank In Pacific Near Camp Pendleton

A helicopter with four Marines aboard crashed into the Pacific during a nighttime amphibious training exercise. The Navy and Coast Guard teamed up Sunday to search by sea and by air.

The CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter, a troop transport based at the Marine Corps’ air station in El Toro, crashed in the ocean late Saturday and sank after taking off at sea from the USS Juneau, an amphibious landing transport ship.

The search was called off Sunday night, a Navy spokesman said. It was not clear whether the effort would continue on Monday morning.

“We found a portion of the fuselage, but that’s it,” said Marine Capt. Perry Mulcrone. An earlier Coast Guard report that a body was recovered was erroneous, he said.

The search was concentrated 5 to 6 miles off the coast from the town of Leucadia, about 10 miles south of Pendleton’s main gate in northern San Diego County, Mulcrone said.

The names of those on board weren’t released.

Camp Pendleton extends more than 17 miles along the Southern California coast from Oceanside northward to San Clemente.

The twin-engine CH-46 Sea Knight is 84 feet long with a 51-foot rotor diameter. It operates with a crew of three and can carry 25 passengers.