Navy to begin search and salvage effort for downed Army Black Hawk

by Tommy Grant

The Navy will soon begin search and salvage operations for an Army MH-60 Black Hawk helicopter that crashed in the Mediterranean Sea on Nov. 10, killing all five special operations soldiers on board.

Sgt. Cade M. Wolfe, Sgt. Andrew P. Southard, Staff Sgt. Tanner W. Grone, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Shane M. Barnes and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Stephen R. Dwyer died in the mishap.

The special operations aviation soldiers were conducting aerial refueling training when the aircraft experienced an in-flight emergency resulting in the crash, according to the Pentagon.

The incident remains under investigation and further details have not yet been released.

NG Worker, a 288-foot offshore supply vessel outfitted with advanced positioning and underwater survey gear, is slated to head out from Sicily with a Navy Supervisor of Salvage and Diving team in the coming days, 6th Fleet said in a statement this week.

On station, the salvage team will use a shallow water intermediate search system and towed pinger locator to find the aircraft, and the locator will use passive sensors to listen for the downed Blackhawk’s pinger frequency.

Once located, the Navy said a 4,100-pound underwater drone will bring the wreckage to the service.

The Navy has not offered a location of the wreckage but said the drone is rated to handle salvage jobs to a depth of 8,000 feet.

“Every effort will be made to recover the aircraft and the fallen Soldiers,” 6th Fleet said in a statement.

Geoff is the editor of Navy Times, but he still loves writing stories. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at [email protected].

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