Friday, April 15, 2016

Remains of Nine Marines Recovered in Hawaii

Hawaii crash recovery efforts wrap up with 3 Marines still missing
Stars and Stripes
By Aaron Kidd
April 15, 2016

Mourners pause at crosses representing the 12 Marines who died in helicopter crashes Jan. 14, 2016, in Hawai. The crosses were adorned with flight gear, boots and Hawiian leis during a memorial Jan. 22, 2016, at Marine Corps Base Hawaii. Remains of nine of the Marines have been recovered. WYATT OLSON/STARS AND STRIPES
The remains of nine of 12 Marines killed when a pair of CH-53E helicopters crashed during routine training earlier this year in Hawaii have been recovered and identified, the Marine Corps said Thursday.

Efforts recently wrapped up to find remains and salvage wreckage after the Jan. 14 crash about two miles offshore of Waimea Bay in Oahu, a Marine Corps statement said. Initial around-the-clock searches yielded no survivors, and the Marines — assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463, Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Airlift Wing at Marine Corps Base Hawaii — were officially declared dead about a week later.

The remains of Sgt. Dillon Semolina, Sgt. Adam Schoeller and Cpl. Christopher Orlando were not recovered, the statement said.
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UPDATE

Parents blame Marine Corps for son's death in Super Stallion crash

  • The Associated Press
The parents of one of 12 Marines killed after two helicopters crashed during training exercises in Hawaii say the aircraft he was in shouldn't have been flying. They also dismissed the search efforts for the Marines as "an embarrassment."
Mike and Lisa De La Cruz, whose son 24-year-old Sgt. Dillon Semolina was the helicopter crew chief, said ongoing maintenance problems should have kept the CH-53E Super Stallions grounded, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported. No trace of their son has been recovered.
Capt. Cassandra Gesecki, a spokeswoman for The III Marine Expeditionary Force, defended the search and said that "no time was wasted."
"U.S. Navy dive teams immediately supported the initial search and rescue effort and began the underwater search phase, ultimately locating the mishap site," she said.
Just days before the January crash, a Marine general fired the commander of the helicopter squadron. Marine spokesman 1st Lt. Joseph Butterfield had said higher command lost confidence in Lt. Col. Edward Pavelka's ability to lead Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463. The Marine Corps hasn't released details about the firing.