Rescuers have expanded their search for 12 Marines missing since their two military helicopters apparently collided in the waters off the Hawaiian island of Oahu.
The Coast Guard said the search has widened along Oahu’s North Shore and now extends eight miles out to sea.
It warned people along the coast to alert the Marines if they find any debris along the coast. The area is a popular surfing destination and surfers were told to avoid any debris in the water.
The Coast Guard, Navy and Honolulu emergency services have conducted some two dozen searches covering more than 5,700 square miles, the Coast Guard said, but so far they have turned up no sign of the missing Marines.
The two CH-53 copters appear to have gone down during a training flight off the Hawaii island of Oahu late Thursday, authorities said. No mayday call was received, just word that something had gone wrong, said Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Scott Carr said.
A civilian on the beach first told authorities of seeing a fireball, followed by a second person reporting a flare.
Searchers spotted a fire and debris field, including an empty life raft, about 2 1/2 miles north of Haleiwa Beach and later floating pieces of debris consistent with military aircraft.
Six people were on board each of the two heavy-lift transport helicopters. Loved ones have identified to CNN four Marines missing, and CNN affiliates have reported on a fifth.
Corps names Marines
The Marine Corps has named the 12 missing men. Base Hawaii named them as:
Maj. Shawn M. Campbell, 41, College Station, Texas.
Capt. Brian T. Kennedy, 31, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Capt. Kevin T. Roche, 30, St. Louis, Missouri.
Capt. Steven R. Torbert, 29, Florence, Alabama.
Sgt. Dillon J. Semolina, 24,Chaska, Minnesota.
Sgt. Adam C. Schoeller, 25, Gardners, Pennsylvania.
Sgt. Jeffrey A. Sempler, 22, Woodruff, South Carolina.
Sgt. William J. Turner, 25, Florala, Alabama.
Cpl. Matthew R. Drown, 23, Spring, Texas.
Cpl. Thomas J. Jardas, 22, Fort Myers, Florida.
Cpl. Christopher J. Orlando, 23, Hingham, Massachusetts.
Lance Cpl. Ty L. Hart, 21, Aumsville, Oregon.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Marines and their families as we continue search and rescue efforts,” Base Hawaii said.
Loved ones of missing
The family of Cpl. Christopher Orlando, 23, of Hingham, Massachusetts, said he was aboard one of the helicopters.
“We would like to thank everyone who continues to pray and send their expressions of concern and love for the safe return of United States Marine Corps Corporal Christopher Orlando and his fellow Marines,” Orlando’s family said in a statement.
“We ask that you continue to pray for Christopher and the other missing Marines.”
Anthony Kuenzel of Missouri told CNN that his brother-in-law, Capt. Kevin Roche, is among them. The family described him as a passionate Marine and thanked people praying for him.
“We believe the Marines and Coast Guard are doing everything they can to bring Kevin and his fellow Marines home safely and we are grateful to everyone involved in the rescue,” Roche’s family said in a statement.
Maj. Shawn Campbell, 41 was in the collision, said his mother, Donna McGrew, of Houston. A Marine officer visited her at home to brief her. Campbell has a wife and four children, and has done three tours of duty in the Middle East.
“My heart just breaks, there are 11 other families going through this now. God bless them,” McGrew said.
Another Texan, Cpl. Matthew Drown, was on board one of the helicopters and is missing, his brother, Sean Drown, told CNN.
Cpl. Drown, 23, has been in the Marines for five years, and joined shortly after high school.