Five US Navy Sailors Die Following Helicopter Crash Off California Coast

(Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

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Five sailors who had remained unaccounted for after a Tuesday helicopter crash were declared dead Saturday by the U.S. Navy.

The U.S. Navy announced shifting its rescue efforts to operations aimed at recovery of the bodies after 34 search and rescue flights undertaken in the 72 hours following the crash did not yield any results, according to a Saturday news release.

The MH-60S Seahawk helicopter, based on the USS Abraham Lincoln, was conducting routine flight operations Tuesday, when it crashed into the sea about 60 nautical miles off the coast of San Diego, California, according to CNN.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of five Sailors and those injured following the MH-60S helicopter tragedy off the coast of Southern California. We stand alongside their families, loved ones, and shipmates who grieve,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday said in a statement.

Search efforts rescued one crew member Tuesday, while five others were said to be missing. Three soldiers who had been on the carrier’s deck at the time of the helicopter crash were found injured, ABC News reported. (RELATED: Firefighting Helicopter Crashes During Training Exercise, Leaves At Least One Dead)

“As a matter of respect for the families and in accordance with Navy policy, the identities of the Sailors will be withheld until 24 hours after their next of kin have been notified,” the Saturday statement released by the US 3rd fleet read.