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Breaking News

Navy Helicopter Crashes Off Texas Coast With Six On Board

Aired August 10, 2000 - 2:26 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Search and rescue efforts are under way following the crash of a military helicopter in the waters south of Corpus Christi, Texas.

On the phone with us now is Lieutenant Chuck Bell with the U.S. Navy.

Lieutenant, thanks for being with us. Could you give us the latest on the crash?

LT. CHUCK BELL, U.S. NAVY: Yes, I'm not sure what you have so far, but at approximately 11:00 this morning, an MH-53E helicopter from Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron 15, which is based at NAS Corpus Christi, went down at sea, like you said, approximately 15 miles south-southeast of the base here with six crew members on board.

Now, the search and rescue operation is on going with units from the Coast Guard and the base here, and also the Helicopter Squadron, along with the USS Gladiator, which is a mine countermeasures ship that happens to be in this general vicinity. Thus far, we know that two crew members have been recovered and have flown to a hospital in Corpus Christi and don't really have any definitive information yet on the status of the other four.

PHILLIPS: OK, could you tell us where the chopper was heading? Were they on a specific type of mission?

BELL: They were on a routine training mission. So they began this morning at NAS Corpus Christi and they were destined to complete their mission, again, at NAS Corpus Chrisi.

PHILLIPS: What type of training mission, Lieutenant?

BELL: These helicopters do -- they practice airborne mine countermeasures, which is mine sweeping and mine hunting. So they were on a routine mission to practice their skills out in the Gulf of Mexico.

PHILLIPS: Can you tell us about this crew or about this squadron, what their specialties are?

BELL: Well, again, it's one of two airborne mine countermeasures helicopter squadrons in the Navy, and they support the Navy's mission of hunting for and disposing of sea mines. PHILLIPS: Lieutenant Chuck Bell with the U.S. Navy, thank you so much.

So far, two of those crew members on the way to a hospital and still looking for four others. We'll continue to follow this story as we get information.

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