October 26, 2016

Status of missing Marines in Hawaii changed to deceased

This Friday, Jan. 15, 2016 photo provided by the U.S. Marine Corps shows a Marine Officer attached to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463 uses binoculars to search for debris of a helicopter mishap in Haliewa Beach Park, Hawaii. AP

Honolulu: The Marine Corps says the 12 Marines, who were in two helicopters that crashed off Hawaii, are considered dead.

The status of the missing Marines changed to deceased on Wednesday, after five days of searching for them.

The Marine Corps says casualty assistance calls officers personally notified each family of the change.

The search began late yesterday when a civilian on a beach reported seeing the aircraft flying and then a fireball.

The Marines were alerted when the CH-53E helicopters carrying six crew members each failed to return to their base at Kaneohe Bay following a nighttime training mission.

Hours later, a Coast Guard helicopter and C-130 airplane spotted debris 2 1/2 miles off of Oahu.

The Marines were from various states and ranged in age from 21 to 41.

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