PENSACOLA, FL (WAFB) - Salvage crews have recovered the wreckage of the crashed U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk Helicopter from the bottom of the Santa Rosa Sound.
The helicopter went down in thick fog Tuesday night during a routine training mission at Eglin Air Force Base in the Florida panhandle . There were 4 Soldiers and 7 Marines on board.
The eleven servicemen who were on the helicopter when it crashed are presumed dead. The Louisiana National Guard has confirmed two Soldiers involved in the UH-60M Black Hawk training accident crash are dead and have been recovered.
The Resolve Marine Group from Mobile, Ala. was contracted to help with the recovery. A salvage barge was brought in Friday, and depending on the weather, the process is expected to take eight hours. An Army and Coast Guard dive team will also assist in the recovery.
The recovery crews used sonar to help locate the wreckage.
Parts of the Intercoastal Waterway near the Navarre Bridge will remained closed to all marine traffic until recovery operations is over.
Once the aircraft has been removed from the water, the recovery operations are expected to be turned over to team investigation the crash.
The names of the Marines on board the crashed helicopter have been released by the U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command. The names of the guardsman have not yet been released.
The seven Marines who died in the crash are:
"We are deeply saddened at the news of the training accident that took the lives of seven MARSOC members and four Louisiana Air National Guard soldiers," said Major General Joseph Osterman with the U.S. Marines. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the Marines, soldiers, and their families and friends as we mourn that tragic lost of life."
The helicopter went down during a routine training mission on a remote swath of beach between Pensacola and Destin. The beach is owned by the military and is used for test missions.
The military was not releasing any details about the cause of the crash as the investigation is ongoing. A Centralized Accident Investigation team from the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center out of Fort Rucker, Ala. was sent to Florida on Wednesday and are leading the joint investigation with other services.
The CAI team includes four personnel from the USACRC and one from the Army Aviation Center of Excellence, Directorate of Evaluation and Standards. The team is being joined by two personnel from the Army National Guard and two from the Navy and Marines.
Anyone along the Santa Rosa Sound who finds debris or witnessed anything involving the crash are asked to call 850-884-9281.