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Navy confirms details about helicopter crash off San Diego coast

The U.S. Navy helicopter experienced "side to side vibrations" causing its main rotor to hit the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln as it was trying to land.

SAN DIEGO — Navy officials Tuesday confirmed details about a helicopter crash a week ago about 60 nautical miles of the coast of San Diego which claimed the lives of five crewmembers and injured others. The U.S. Navy helicopter experienced "side to side vibrations" causing its main rotor to hit the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln as it was trying to land on it Tuesday, Aug. 31, according to a document from the Navy Safety Center.  The rotor striking the flight deck caused the aircraft to flip over the side of the ship and into the sea. 

The incident occurred while the helicopter and aircraft carrier were "conducting routine flight operations," according to officials. The USS Abraham Lincoln is homeported at Naval Air Station North Island on Coronado. 

The details of how the crash occurred were released just days after the Navy shared the names of the five crewmembers of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 8 who died in the incident.

The names of the deceased crewmembers were released Sunday as:

  • Lt. Bradley A. Foster, 29, a pilot from Oakhurst, California
  • Lt. Paul R. Fridley, 28, a pilot from Annandale, Virginia
  • Naval Air Crewman (Helicopter) 2nd Class James P. Buriak, 31, from Salem, Virginia
  • Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Sarah F. Burns, 31, from Severna Park, Maryland
  • Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Bailey J. Tucker, 21, from St. Louis, Missouri

Five crewmembers were unaccounted for after the crash last Tuesday which prompted an immediate search and rescue mission with the Navy and Coast Guard that went on for multiple days.

The U.S. Pacific Fleet reported that one person was that night. The rescued sailor and two other crew members who were hurt in the accident while engaging in duties aboard the San Diego-based aircraft carrier were taken ashore for medical care in stable condition. Three other personnel suffered minor injuries on the ship and remained aboard, officials said.

On Saturday the Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet shifted the "transition from search and rescue efforts to recovery operations comes after more than 72 hours of coordinated rescue efforts encompassing 34 search and rescue flights, over 170 hours of flight time, with five search helicopters and constant surface vessel search."

Comments have flooded the USS Abraham Lincoln's page on Facebook sharing condolences for the crewmembers who were killed.  

WATCH RELATED: U.S. Navy identifies the 5 crewmembers that died in helicopter crash off California coast