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The U.S. Coast Guard and Navy were searching early Friday for as many as nine people off the Southern California coast following a collision between a Coast Guard plane and a Marine Corps helicopter, officials said.
The crash was reported at 7:10 p.m. Thursday, about 50 miles off the San Diego County coast and 15 miles east of San Clemente Island, Coast Guard spokeswoman Petty Officer Allyson Conroy said.
A pilot reported seeing a fireball near where the aircraft collided, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said, and the Coast Guard informed the FAA that debris from a C-130 had been spotted. Seven people were on board the plane, a C-130, and two people were aboard the helicopter, he said.
Cpl Michael Stevens, a spokesman for the Miramar Marine Corps Air Station, said the AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter was on a training mission when it went down. The Cobra and its crew are part of Marine Aircraft Group 39, based at Camp Pendleton, and the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, which is headquartered at Miramar, Stevens said.
Rescue operations are under way across Afghanistan, after three helicopters crashed in a series of pre-dawn sorties, leaving at least four US troops dead and two others seriously injured.
Two helicopters collided in mid-air, in the South of the country, while a third went down under heavy fire in the West, moments after extracting soldiers from a daring night raid against one of the region’s most wanted drug-smugglers.
US officials said that hostile fire was not involved in the mid-air collision, but they are still investigating the cause of the second crash.
So far, 2009 is shaping up to be a costlier year for U.S. Army aviation accidents and incidents, according to an Aerospace DAILY analysis of data provided by the Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center (USACRC).
The average cost per accident or incident for this calendar year was about $220,178 as of July 28, the last date for which data were provided, compared to about $176,638 for all of 2008, the analysis shows.
“As the Army aviation fleet continues to transform to a more high-tech and lethal force, and [given] the inflationary growth in the cost of these aircraft and the resulting costs associated with mishaps, the cost of operating and fixing Army aircraft has increased,” said Lt. Col. David Fleckenstein, director of USACRC’s Air Task Force.
The maximum single-event cost for that time period was about $26.5 million. The average cost per an accident or incident for the more than 30,000 aviation mishaps over the past three decades was about $539,000, the analysis shows, with a maximum single-event cost of about $62.4 million.
Thus far for fiscal year 2009, the total costs of the accidents and incidents in all countries totaled about $87.1 million, compared to $136.5 million for all of fiscal 2008, the analysis shows. The total over the past three decades has been about $16.4 billion.
Originally posted by Signals
Why in the heck do our planes/helicopters keep colliding? I don't get it either. Is it a training issue? Are they clowning around up there? Doesn't the military have air traffic controllers? Very strange.
The search continued for nine military personnel missing after a mid-air collision of two aircraft off the southern California coast Thursday night. So far, rescuers have not found any survivors or remains.
Officials say a Coast Guard C-130 transport plane, which carried seven passengers, had been on a search and rescue mission for a small boat reported missing since Wednesday. The U.S. Marine Super Cobra AH-1W helicopter, manned by two aviators, was conducting a training exercise out of Camp Pendleton.
Shortly after 7 p.m. Thursday night, an eyewitness reported seeing two large explosions and a large fireball 50 miles off the San Diego coast and 15 miles east of San Clemente Island.
ABC News has been told the mid-air collision could have been much worse. Marine spokesman Major Jay Delarosa said the helicopter involved in the collision was flying in formation with three other helicopters at the time of the collision -- one other AH1-W and two CH-53s. The Cobras were flying escort for the CH-53s.