U.S. Navy Recovers Remains of Five Killed in MH-60S Crash

An MH-60S Seahawk helicopter like the one pictured here crashed approximately 60 nautical miles off the coast of San Diego while conducting routine operations. U.S. Department of Defense

The remains of five sailors who died when their MH-60S Seahawk crashed into the ocean in late August have been recovered, the U.S. Navy announced Tuesday.

The MH-60S Seahawk, which was aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, crashed into ocean waters while conducting a routine flight operation about 60 nautical miles off the coast of San Diego on August 31.

“The aircraft, from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 8, was operating on deck before crashing into the sea,” the Navy said at the time of the incident.

Five sailors on board the aircraft carrier were also injured in the incident.

Following the crash, one of the aircraft’s six crew members was located and was listed as being in stable condition. For days, Navy and Coast Guard search and rescue teams deployed air and surface assets in a search for the remaining five.

On September 5, the Navy identified the crew members killed as:

  • Lt. Bradley A. Foster, 29, a pilot from Oakhurst, California
  • Lt. Paul R. Fridley, 28, a pilot from Annandale, Virginia
  • Naval Air Crewman (Helicopter) 2nd Class James P. Buriak, 31, from Salem, Virginia
  • Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Sarah F. Burns, 31, from Severna Park, Maryland
  • Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Bailey J. Tucker, 21, from St. Louis, Missouri

Friday, a deep-water recovery team located the wreckage about a mile below the surface.

“The wreckage, along with five human remains, was recovered Oct. 8, 2021, from a depth of approximately 5,300 feet by a team from the Naval Sea Systems Command’s Supervisor of Salvage and Diving (SUPSALV) embarked on the multi-purpose service vessel HOS Bayou,” the Navy said Tuesday.

“The Bayou arrived at Naval Air Station North Island on October 10, and the remains recovered from the crash were transferred to Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, for identification.”

An investigation into the incident is underway, the Navy said.

According to a Naval Safety Center report following the crash, the Seahawk “experienced side-to-side vibrations causing [the] main rotor to strike [the] flight deck,” before the aircraft fell over the side of the aircraft carrier.

The crash marks the 11th such incident for Navy manned aircraft this year, Military.com reported. Nine were reported in 2020, and five in 2019, according to the Naval Safety Center report.

Kimberly is managing editor of FLYING Digital.

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