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WASHINGTON, D.C.– A U.S. Navy helicopter carrying five crew members crashed in the Red Sea on Sunday while conducting routine flight operations, injuring three of them and leaving two others unaccounted for, officials said. No hostile activity was reported in the area.
The accident happened at around noon local time when an Sikorsky MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter was carrying out routine flight operations near the guided-missile destroyer USS William P. Lawrence. The vessel is part of the USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Group which was deployed to the Red Sea earlier this month when the U.S. considered taking military action against Syria.
U.S. Naval Forces Central Command said the crash happened in the central Red Sea, but provided no specific location. It initially said the fate of all five personnel on board the helicopter was still being determined, but later issued a statement in which it confirmed three crew members had been rescued.
"Three personnel are accounted for and stable. Search efforts continue for two remaining personnel," the statement said. It said the USS Nimitz and its Carrier Strike Group, which includes a cruiser and three destroyers, as well as the USNS Rainier were assisting and providing multiple aircraft and small boats for search and rescue.
It was not immediately known what caused Sunday's accident, but navy officials said it was not the result of any sort of hostile activity. "The incident is under investigation," a brief statement said.