Seven Marines and four soldiers were unaccounted for early on Wednesday morning after their Army helicopter crashed during a night time training mission in Florida, a military official said.
One of two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters participating in the routine exercise crashed near Eglin Air Force Base, some 50 miles (80 km) east of Pensacola, and rescue workers discovered debris around 2 a.m. local time on Wednesday, base spokesman Andy Bourland said in a statement.
The Marines were part of a special operations unit based out of Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, while the aircrew and helicopter belonged to the Louisiana Army National Guard, Bourland said.
"Two Ch-60 aircraft assigned to the Hammond, La Army National Guard were participating in a training exercise over night. One aircraft with four aircrew and seven Marines assigned to Camp LaJeune, N.C, was involved in an accident near Eglin range site A-17, east of the Navarre Bridge.
"The helicopter was reported missing at about 8:30 p.m. March 10. Debris from the aircraft was located by search and rescue team at about 2 a.m. this morning. Search and rescue efforts are underway at the accident site currently.
"The second helicopter and its personnel on board have returned and are accounted for at this time. The aircraft are assigned to the 1-244th Assault Helicopter Battalion in Hammond, Louisiana. They were participating in a routine training mission involving the Marine Special Operations Regiment from Camp LeJeune.
"Names of the aircrew and Marines on board are being withheld pending NOK notification. The accident is under investigation. Additional details will be provided as they become available," Eglin Air Force Base said in a statement to Pundit Press.