Desperate search for marines after helicopters collide mid-air
The US Coast Guard is desperately searching for survivors of a mid-air crash off the coast of Hawaii between two military helicopters carrying a total of 12 marines.
A coast guard spokeswoman said a debris field had been spotted about two miles north of the island of Oahu, but that there was no sign of the 12 marines nearly five hours into the search.
The debris field reportedly included an empty lifeboat and a small fire.
The marines are believed to have been carrying out a late night exercise over the ocean when the collision took place.
The seas were rough in the area, with waves of about 15 feet and swells of 30 to 40 feet.
There was an active high surf warning in the area from the National Weather Service yesterday.
Local media said witnesses to the collision reported a loud boom and a flash in the sky. It is not yet known what caused the collision.
There are three helicopters and a coast guard plane involved in the search for the marines.
The US navy and marines are also involved in the operation.
"The aircraft are from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463, Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing from Marine Corps Base Hawaii," the Marine Corps said.