SAN DIEGO – Investigators searched Friday for survivors of a midair collision – and tried to determine how crews on a Coast Guard aircraft on a rescue mission and a Marine helicopter failed to see each other in a heavily used military training area.
Military aircraft and ships searched the ocean off Southern California for any sign of the victims while investigators gathered recordings of air traffic controllers and pilot communications.
The search covered 644 square miles of ocean but focused on a debris field 50 miles off the San Diego coast.
The 7:10 p.m. crash Thursday involved a Coast Guard C-130 with a seven-member crew and a Marine Corps AH-1W Super Cobra with two aboard as it flew in formation near the Navy’s San Clemente Island, a site with training ranges for amphibious, air, surface and undersea warfare.
“We’re still in the search-and-rescue phase. We are not standing down from that at this point,” said Capt. Tom Farris, commander of the Coast Guard’s San Diego sector.
The C-130 crew had survival gear aboard the aircraft.
19 children died of swine flu in week
ATLANTA – Swine flu has caused at least 19 more children’s deaths – the largest one-week increase since the pandemic started in April, health officials said Friday.
At least 114 children have died from swine flu complications since the spring, up from 95 reported a week earlier, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Meanwhile, the government has decided to release the last of its stockpile of liquid Tamiflu for children because of reported shortages of the swine flu treatment. Enough to treat some 234,000 children is being released. Pharmacies also can convert adult Tamiflu capsules to pediatric doses.
Pirates demand $7 million for pair
MOGADISHU, Somalia – The BBC said Friday that Somali pirates called the broadcaster to demand $7 million for the release of a British couple whose sailboat was hijacked off the coast of Africa.
The British broadcaster cited an unidentified caller as saying the size of the ransom was justified because NATO forces in the area had arrested Somali fishermen and destroyed their equipment.
“If they do not harm us, we will not harm them,” the BBC quoted the caller as saying. “We only need a little amount of $7 million.”
Paul and Rachel Chandler were headed to Tanzania in their boat, the Lynn Rival, when a distress signal was sent Oct. 23.
Rachel Chandler told her brother, Stephen Collett, in a telephone call broadcast by ITV News on Friday that the couple were “bearing up.”
“They tell us that we’re safe and we shouldn’t worry and that if we want anything they will provide it in terms of food and water and everything like that,” she said, according to a transcript.
“They are very hospitable people so don’t worry.”