On Saturday at around 5:15 p.m. local time, a US Navy Sea Hawk helicopter went down in the Philippine Sea. All five crew members were rescued and are said to be in stable condition.
Japan Air Self-Defense Force, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, Japanese Coast Guard, the Navy’s amphibious assault ship America, the 7th Fleet’s flagship Blue Ridge and the U.S. Air Force were involved in the rescue operation. According to the NAvy, the incident occurred while the helicopter was conducting “routine operations.”
The crew members were assigned to the Golden Falcons of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 12. According to the Navy Times,
“The Golden Falcons were conducting operations off the Blue Ridge in Sagami Bay on Tuesday. On Thursday, Navy officials listed the Blue Ridge as underway in the North Pacific Ocean.
America, the flagship of the America Amphibious Ready Group with the embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, completed carrier qualifications with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 on Monday in the East China Sea.”
The Blue Ridge is the 7th Fleet’s flagship and is based in Yokosuka, Japan.
Stars and Stripes reported,
Two personnel were found during a search and rescue mission and were brought back to the USS Blue Ridge by Navy helicopter, the 7th Fleet said. The three others were recovered by a Japan Air Self-Defense Force UH-60.
Exactly why the MH-60 Sea Hawk went down is unknown at this time, but an investigation was launched.
The US Navy information on the helicopter reads in part:
The Sea Hawk is a twin-engine helicopter. It is used for anti-submarine warfare, search and rescue, drug interdiction, anti-ship warfare, cargo lift, and special operations. The Navy has completed the full transition from the aging SH-60B and SH-60F Sea Hawk variants to the state of the art MH-60R and MH-60S which are based aboard cruisers, destroyers, littoral combat ships and nuclear powered aircraft carriers. The MH-60R’s primary missions are Antisubmarine Warfare(ASW), Anti-surface Warfare(SUW), and Electromagnetic Warfare (EW). The MH-60S is assigned to the SUW, Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR), Organic Airborne Mine Countermeasure (AMCM) and combat support missions. Each variant, as well as the Air Force’s MH-60 G Pave Hawk and the Coast Guard’s HH-60J Jayhawk, are equipped with a rescue hoist with a 250 foot (75 meter) cable that has a 600 pound (270 kg) lift capability and a cargo hook with a 6,000 lb capacity.
Featured photo: An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter from the Golden Falcons of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 12 launches from the flight deck of U.S. 7th Fleet flagship Blue Ridge on Tuesday in Sagami Bay. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Dylan McKay/Navy) (via Navy Times)