Friday, January 15, 2016

Piper PA-22-108, N4751Z: Fatal accident occurred January 15, 2016 in Garden City, Glasscock County, Texas 

NTSB Identification: CEN16FA087 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, January 14, 2016 in Garden City, TX
Aircraft: PIPER PA 22-108, registration: N4751Z
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On January 14, 2016, at 1609 central standard time a Piper PA22-108 airplane, N4751Z, impacted terrain near Garden City, Texas. The pilot, who was the sole occupant, was fatally injured and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane's registration was suspended and it was operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The airplane departed from the Midland Airpark (MDD), Midland, Texas, about 1545 and was en route to the Edwards Lucian Wells Ranch Airport, (TX31), Big Spring, Texas. 

An employee of the pilot stated that the pilot intended to fly from MDD to TX31 to show the airplane to a friend. He reported that the pilot left the shop about 1400 and went to the airport. 

A witness at the airport who spoke with the pilot prior to departure stated that the pilot was flying the airplane to TX31 to meet with a friend. The witness saw the pilot start the engine about 1530, but did not see the pilot depart. 

The accident site was located about 8 miles southwest of TX31 and about 4 miles south of expected route of flight. The main wreckage came to rest in an area of mostly flat terrain with mesquite trees and shrubs. The propeller was found embedded in the west side of a large dirt pile, which was next to a small open-pit mine. The debris field and main wreckage were located to the east of the dirt pile. The debris field was about 100 yards long. 

At 1615, the automated weather observation station, located at the Big Spring McMahon-Wrinkle Airport (BPG), Big Spring, Texas, and about 16 miles northeast of the accident site, recorded wind from 230 at 15 knots, 10 miles visibility, clear sky, temperature 63° F, dew point 23° F, altimeter setting 29.74 inches of mercury.

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Lubbock FSDO-13

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email,  and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email

Details were released on a small plane crash that claimed the life of former Midland County Sheriff Dallas Smith. The crash occurred on the afternoon of Jan. 14 near Garden City after Smith had departed Midland Airpark en route to Big Spring.

An employee of the pilot told investigators that Smith intended to fly from Midland Airpark to Edwards Lucian Wells Ranch Airport in Big Spring to show the airplane to a friend, according to the National Transportation Safety Board’s preliminary review.

The report also states that Smith was flying the plane, a Piper PA22-108, without proper registration and against federal regulations.

“I think that this aircraft may have been sold, he may have recently bought it and he had either not filed the new registration forms, or they were in the process,” said Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford.

The FAA requires aircraft to be registered every three years.

The crash site was about eight miles southwest of the Lucian Wells airport and about four miles south of the expected route of flight, according to the NTSB report.

“The main wreckage came to rest in an area of mostly flat terrain with mesquite trees and shrubs. The propeller was found embedded in the west side of a large dirt pile, which was next to a small open-pit mine. … The debris field was about 100 yards long,” according to the report.

No other details on the cause of the crash have been released.

GLASSCOCK COUNTY- Former Midland County Sheriff Dallas Smith's body was found after a plane he was flying crashed 11 miles north of highway 158 in Glasscock County Friday.

Preliminary information from the Federal Aviation Administration confirms it was a single-engine Piper PA-22 which was reported missing Friday by a friend or relative.

Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter tells CBS 7 that Smith was flying the single engine plane and disappeared.

According to the FAA, the aircraft departed the MIdland Airpark Thursday with Big Spring as its destination.

"FAA investigators are on their way to the crash site, and the National Transportation Safety Board has been notified. The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation," said FAA Spokesperson Lynn Lunsford.

Aircraft was sent up to search for him and late Friday the wreckage was found in Glasscock County.

Smith was Sheriff in Midland County from 1977 though 1984.

"This is a very sad thing. He brought the SO into the 20th century. He modernized it and began an era of progressiveness in the county," said one viewer on Facebook.

He also worked for the Department of Public Safety.

Glassock County Sheriff Keith Burnett told CBS 7 that Smith's body has been sent to Lubbock for an autopsy.

The aircraft tail number is N4751Z. According to FAA data obtained by CBS7, the plane was just registered in December and its registration status is still pending.

Photos courtesy Glasscock County.

Original article can be found here:

Dallas Smith 

The wreckage of a small single-engine aircraft was found Friday afternoon, and while the Federal Aviation Administration couldn’t confirm the identity of the pilot, Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter said it was former Midland County Sheriff Dallas Smith.

The aircraft -- carrying just the pilot -- was reported missing Friday, according to the FAA. The aircraft was reportedly on a flight from Midland Airpark to Big Spring on Thursday.

“Somewhere along the way, we don’t know when or exactly what happened, the aircraft crashed,” according to FAA spokesperson Lynn Lunsford.

Painter told the Reporter-Telegram that Smith was the pilot and did not survive the crash.

“He was flying a single-engine aircraft to be looked at by a rancher in Glasscock County and failed to arrive and failed to contact his wife,” Painter said in an email.

A Department of Public Safety helicopter found the wreckage in a caliche pit about 15 miles south of Garden City with the body of Smith, Painter said.

The tail number of the plane was 4751Z, according to officials.  


GLASSCOCK COUNTY, TX (KWES) -  Former Midland County Sheriff Dallas Smith was found dead on Friday following a plane crash in Glasscock County.

Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter said Smith's body was found with the wreckage around 3:30 p.m. on Friday.

It was found in a caliche pit about 15 miles south of Garden City.

Painter tells NewsWest 9 that Smith flew out on Thursday in a single engine plane.

He was flying to a ranch in Glasscock County that he was looking to purchase.

Authorities started looking for Smith after his family couldn't reach him.

The FAA and NTSB will be going to the crash site to investigate.

Smith was the Sheriff of Midland County from 1977 to 1984.


Allegiant Air Chief Operating Officer resigns

The chief operating officer of Allegiant Air unexpectedly resigned his post at the Las Vegas-based airline effective immediately, Allegiant announced late Friday.

Steven E. Harfst, 52, a former Navy fighter pilot with nearly three decades of experience in the aviation industry, had worked at Allegiant for a little more than a year and had been the most prominent executive at the airline behind its CEO, Maurice Gallagher Jr.

The resignation has repercussions in Tampa Bay with Allegiant flying about 95 percent of the passenger traffic at St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport, which flew a record 1.6 million people last year.

In a brief statement, Allegiant provided no reason for his departure and Harfst declined to comment when reached on his cellphone.

"The company will use this leadership change as an opportunity to refocus on operational needs and areas for improvement," Allegiant said in a statement. "Allegiant is committed to operational excellence and looks forward to continued progress in this area."

Gallagher, Allegiant's chairman and CEO, said, "We thank Steve for his contributions to Allegiant. We look forward to continuing his efforts to strengthen our operation."

Harfst had been a staunch defender of Allegiant during 2015 at a time when the airline experienced a string of highly publicized maintenance issues and emergency landings. He has also had a leading role in negotiations with the airline's pilots union, which has hammered Allegiant's maintenance practices as being unsafe.

At least four Allegiant aircraft flying to or from Pinellas were forced to make emergency landings in the last year, including three in a one-month period during the summer.

Harfst has told reporters that the union is using safety as a ploy to better its negotiating position in talks for a contract.

Harfst said in a September interview with the Tampa Bay Times at Allegiant's corporate headquarters that he thought the airline was one of the safest in the industry.

"To me, it's always about being safe because you never undermine or take for granted being safe," said Harfst. "We're not insensitive to the media attention when our operation doesn't do what it is supposed to do. But we hope and we think most of our customers recognize the value we give and our intent to do what's right for them."

The departure comes at a time when Allegiant is earning high profits that have been boosted by lower fuel costs. On a percentage basis, the airline at one point late last year was the most profitable airline in the world with a 24 percent profit margin.

Harfst's resignation comes a week after a Times article featured a former Allegiant mechanic's accusations that the airline employed bad maintenance practices at its Sanford operation. A majority of the airline's routes are to Florida, and Allegiant is seen as a critical driver of local tourism.

Earlier this week, Allegiant announced it would offer twice-weekly flights between St. Pete-Clearwater and New Orleans starting June 3. That is the 50th city with scheduled Allegiant service with the Pinellas airport.

Harfst joined Allegiant's board of directors and became its COO starting Jan. 1, 2015. He was the former COO of IndiGo Airlines based in New Delhi.

In a Times interview, Harfst said airline consolidation forced larger carriers to run more efficiently, taking them out of the smaller markets now feeding Allegiant's bulging bottom line.

"I'd rather be lucky than good," said Harfst. "We're really happy about what has taken place in the industry. We like that. We see a lot of runway ahead of us when it comes to growth, and St. Pete is going to be the beneficiary of that."

Harfst is no stranger to pressure in the workplace. In logging 1,600 hours as a fighter pilot in a 10-year career with the Navy, he made 227 carrier landings. He left the service in 1996.


Steamboat officials approve contract for summer air service from Dallas on American Airlines: Dallas could replace summer Houston flight

Steamboat airline program managers are close to signing a contract with American Airlines for daily summer 2016 flights to Yampa Valley Regional Airport from Dallas, Texas. Details have not been released. Presumably, that service will be on a smaller aircraft than this American flight that arrived from Dallas last month.

Steamboat Springs — The Yampa Valley is close to securing direct summer flights from Dallas on American Airlines for 2016, but the prospects for a third year of daily summer flights from Houston are under a ground hold.

#The board of the Local Marketing District emerged from a 45-minute executive session Friday morning and without ruling out renewal of Houston flights, voted unanimously to authorize Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. officials to finalize a contract proposed by American for the Dallas service.

Details of the direct flights between Dallas and Yampa Valley Regional Airport — schedules, aircraft and start/finish dates — are being withheld until the contract is inked. The role of the LMD board is to advise the Steamboat Springs City Council on securing commercial airline service funded with public dollars. Ski Corp. officials negotiate the terms for summer services, as they do with ski season flights, when funding is shared among lodging taxes, general sales tax and Ski Corp.

In related news Friday, Ski Corp. Airline Director Janet Fischer reported that, in anticipation of Republic Airlines’ April 1 exit as a United Express Carrier from Denver International Airport, United will begin transitioning in March to using SkyWest Airlines operating small jets on the YVRA to DIA route.

Currently, the SkyWest aircraft show up on two of three daily flights operating between YVRA and DIA through ski season. Fischer added that flights currently loaded into computers indicate SkyWest will serve YVRA through November using either 50- or 70-passenger jets in place of the turboprops Republic has flown here.

Houston still under discussion

Friday’s vote does not take the possibility of renewing the Houston flight off the table, LMD board members said Friday, but it’s clear United’s proposed length of the summer service was a sticking point.

“We’re looking at two options for contracting for a summer flight,” Fischer told the LMD board in open session, “2016 would be the third summer to look at Houston on United. It’s the same (50-passenger) aircraft, but they are proposing a reduced season.”

Asked by LMD Board President Chuck Porter to clarify if the Houston flight would operate fewer days over the entire length of the summer, Fischer replied: “It would be daily, but they want to shorten the season pretty significantly.”

Bob Milne, the unanimous choice to replace Porter as LMD board chairman after the latter announced his plans to step down from that role Friday, said Ski Corp. officials will continue to explore the possibility of bringing back the Houston flight, as well as other opportunities.

Shift from Republic to SkyWest on Denver route

Fischer said that, preliminarily, it looks as though YVRA will continue to see jet service on the Denver route beyond ski season this spring, with one flight per day on the 50-passenger CRJ from April 5 to June 5.

“Then, all through November, it’s two per day,” she said. “I think the reliability (of service) will show some big improvements because of the reliability of the operator. It’s a smaller plane than we had last summer with the (turboprop) Q400, which was either 71 or 74 passengers. It’s encouraging that there are two flights loaded September through November — that’s 100 seats daily versus (about) 70.”

In 2015, St. George, Utah-based Sky-West was actively phasing out some of it 50-passenger jets to make way for larger 76-passenger Bombardier CRJ-900 and Embraer E175 jets, which can accommodate multiple classes of passenger seating.


The plane that can detach its entire cabin in the event of an emergency: Concept can 'drop' passengers to safety using built-in parachutes

  • Parachutes attached to roof and rubber tubes inflate on bottom of cabin
  • Storage space holds passengers' luggage underneath the cabin
  • Previous design has a capsule released from plane's back

Engineers have revealed a radical new way to save plane passengers in the event of an emergency.

The design shows an aircraft with a detachable cabin that releases in emergency situations.

During take-off, landing or flight, the redesigned cabin detaches from the plane and safely lands on the ground or water– saving everyone's lives on board.

'Surviving in a plane crash is possible,' Vladimir Tatarenko, aviation engineer, told LiveLeak.

'While aircraft engineers all over the world are trying to make planes safer, they can do nothing about the human factor.'

Tatarenko is that mastermind behind the design and has been working on this project for the past three years, according to Independent.

Parachutes are attached to the roof of the cabin that are instantly released when the cabin is detached from the plane.

There are also rubber tubes that inflate to cushion the impact to the ground or water, and the inflatable devices seem strong enough to keep the cabin afloat.

'The existing technology of using of Kevlar and carbon composites for fuselage, wings, flaps, spoilers, ailerons, tail will be used during the design,' Tatarenko explained.

'It allows to partly compensate the weight of parachute system.'

The design includes a storage space that holds passengers' luggage underneath the cabin, so there won't be any lost luggage during the flight if it has to detach.

Independent explained viewers of the demonstration video have mixed reactions to the innovation.

Some are all for the cutting-edge design, while others are skeptical and feel it's impractical.

A few reservations pertain to the potential impact on the rest of the plane, the possibility of the detached cabin smashing into mountains or buildings and the escape plan for the pilots.

One person commented: 'Of the millions of flights a year, less than 500 people die worldwide a year from plane crashes.'

'Seems not terribly cost effective'

While another had concerns too: 'This whole concept dramatically weakens the airframe because now you have joints and fittings to connect a fuselage and a body together where once you had a whole fuselage to reinforce the airframe.'

However, a questionnaire conducted by the inventor found that 95% of people would be willing to buy a more expensive ticket in order to use such a safety system.

This isn't the first design the Ukrainian engineer has produced.

Last year, Tatarenko received patents for an invention with an escape capsule system that would rescue passengers on board.

The capsule would be released within seconds of the emergency situation and through a rear hatch at the tail end of the plane.

Once ejected, two gunpowder engines will take control to slow down the speed and then a parachute will pop out.

But, according to Tatarenko, it could not save lives if the plane explodes inside or comes under a rocket attack.

Story, photo gallery, comments, video:

Salem, Ohio, company creates anti-drone system

SALEM, Ohio -

The increased use of drones has inspired a Salem company to invent a product to capture drones in midair.

Theiss UVA Solutions has unveiled EXCIPIO, a non-destructive unmanned aircraft that launches a net to capture drones and other targets.

While in earlier versions of EXCIPIO drones that were shot of out the air fell to the ground, a new version features a tether that attaches the netted target to EXCIPIO so it can be flown to a different location according to Shawn Theiss, General Manager and founder of the company.

If the captured drone weighs too much for EXCIPIO to carry or if the target has been relocated to the desired location, the tether can be detached. The net will be released equipped with a small parachute to slow its descent to the ground.

Theiss said this system is non-destructive because EXCIPIO does not use hostile forms of capture.

“It's not shooting things like a bullet or destructive forms of pyrotechnics,” Theiss said.

Development of the system began in 2014 in response to a need expressed by the U.S. military. By January 2015, the company had a prototype system completed.

“This is not being developed to attack the hobbyist or commercial application that is flying legally,” Theiss said in a news release. “It is for those flying with ill intentions. It unfortunately is something we need to be prepared for.”

Theiss said to fly EXCIPIO the owner must follow Federal Aviation Administration guidelines for registering and operating the drone. Theiss added that no special licensing is needed to operate the net launcher attached to the drone.

The current model is manually operated and requires two people to handle it: one person to pilot the drone and another to fire the net.

According to Theiss, the company is working on an even more advanced models.

EXCIPIO's target market is for law enforcement, but Theiss said that there are plans on licensing the drone for commercial use, such as for hobbyists.

More information on FAA drone regulations may be found here.

Video of an earlier model of EXCIPIO may be found here.


Sikorsky CH-53 Sea Stallion, US Marine Corps: Accident occurred January 15, 2016 off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii

Plane aiding search for missing Marines reportedly hit by green laser

This Friday, Jan. 15, 2016 photo provided by the U.S. Marine Corps shows a Marine Officer attached to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463 uses binoculars to search for debris of a helicopter mishap in Haliewa Beach Park, Hawaii. 

A plane aiding in the search for 12 missing Marines, whose helicopters crashed off the Hawaiian island of Oahu, was reportedly hit with a laser Saturday forcing it to alter its course.

A Coast Guard spokeswoman told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that if crew members had been directly exposed to the green laser, the C-130 Hercules would’ve had to make an emergency landing and the crew would’ve been examined.

Laser exposure could cause temporary blindness. Pointing a laser an aircraft is a federal crime.

Officials released the names of the 12 missing Marines late Saturday whose choppers crashed on Thursday. The names of the Marines are:

— Maj. Shawn M. Campbell, 41, College Station, Texas.

— Capt. Brian T. Kennedy, 31, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

— Capt. Kevin T. Roche, 30, St. Louis, Missouri.

— Capt. Steven R. Torbert, 29, Florence, Alabama.

— Sgt. Dillon J. Semolina, 24,Chaska, Minnesota.

— Sgt. Adam C. Schoeller, 25, Gardners, Pennsylvania.

— Sgt. Jeffrey A. Sempler, 22, Woodruff, South Carolina.

— Sgt. William J. Turner, 25, Florala, Alabama.

— Cpl. Matthew R. Drown, 23, Spring, Texas.

— Cpl. Thomas J. Jardas, 22, Fort Myers, Florida.

— Cpl. Christopher J. Orlando, 23, Hingham, Massachusetts.

— Lance Cpl. Ty L. Hart, 21, Aumsville, Oregon.

The family of Cpl. Christopher Orlando of Hingham, Massachusetts, said it was grateful for people's prayers. "We continue to monitor the ongoing search effort in Hawaii and are thankful for the hard work of the many federal and local heroes undertaking this search and rescue mission," the family said in a statement released by the Massachusetts State Police.

Ty Hart, a 21-year-old from Oregon, was in one of the helicopters, the Oregonian reported Friday night. The newspaper said Hart lives on base in Hawaii with his wife.

Hart's former high school football coach and teacher, Alan Kirby, described Hart as a positive kid who always had a smile on his face and called him a quick learner on the gridiron.

The family of Capt. Kevin Roche believes he was one of the Marines aboard the helicopters.

"We believe the Marines and Coast Guard are doing everything they can to bring Kevin and his fellow Marines home safely, and we are grateful to everyone involved in the rescue," said a family statement distributed by brother-in-law Anthony Kuenzel in St. Louis.

A Coast Guard official was notified of the crash by a civilian who saw the aircraft flying then disappear into a fireball. Someone else reported seeing a flare in the sky, Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Scott Carr said. It's unclear if the fireball and the flare were related.

The Marines were alerted when the CH-53E helicopters carrying six crew members each failed to return to their base at Kaneohe Bay following a nighttime training mission. Hours later, a Coast Guard helicopter and C-130 airplane spotted debris 2 1/2 miles off of Oahu.

A Navy P-3 airplane was scouring the ocean, along with helicopters from the Coast Guard, Army, Navy and Honolulu police and fire departments. Two Navy warships and two Coast Guard cutters were on the scene. Honolulu lifeguards on personal watercraft were also looking.

The Coast Guard was keeping people out of a wide zone that spanned about 30 miles of shoreline, citing danger from debris. The zone extended from the shore to 8 miles off the coast.

Saturday’s search efforts were severely hampered by high waves that topped 30 feet high.

National Weather Service meteorologist Derek Wroe said Saturday that the surf peaked Friday afternoon and was slowly declining.

A storm about 1,500 miles to the north and northwest of Oahu was sending large swells to the islands, he said.


Press conference at Marine Corps Base Hawaii with Coast Guard Lt. Scott Carr and USMC Capt. Time Irish.

HALEIWA, Hawaii -

The Coast Guard says two Marine helicopters crashed off of Haleiwa around 11:40 p.m. Thursday.

The type of rotorcraft involved is a CH-53, which is a transport helicopter.  Each aircraft had six people aboard from Marine Corps Base Hawaii.  They are still unaccounted for.

Hale'iwa Ali'i Beach Park will be closed for the next couple of days as rescue crews use the park for staging, according to the city.  Parts of the Haleiwa small boat harbor will also be closed during this time, according to state land officials.

The Coast Guard, the Navy and the Honolulu Fire Department are searching a debris field that was spotted about 2.5 miles off the coast.  The Coast Guard has also implemented boats from Maui and Hilo.

The cause of the crash is under investigation by the Marine Corps.

A reminder from the Honolulu Fire Department -- they say the debris from the crash could be washing ashore.  Anyone who comes across debris is asked to call the U.S. Coast Guard immediately at (808) 535-3372.

A civilian on the beach notified the Coast Guard about the chopper crash.  The person saw aircraft flying then disappear and a fireball.

One of the missing Marines has been identified as Capt. Kevin Roche. His family issued the following statement:

"Captain Kevin Roche is a passionate Marine who loves his family and his country - and we love him. We believe the Marines and Coast Guard are doing everything they can to bring Kevin and his fellow Marines home safely and we are grateful to everyone involved in the rescue.  Our family appreciates the prayers and encouragement we have received as we watch, wait and pray for Kevin's safe return."

From Marine Corps:

1st MARINE AIRCRAFT WING, MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII – The Marine Corps can confirm there is an active search and rescue operation ongoing for two CH-53E helicopters off the coast of Oahu. The CH-53E's involved in the incident were carrying a total of 12 Marine crew members.

The U.S. Coast Guard is currently conducting search and rescue operations and will be joined in their search efforts by Marines with Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing under a Unified Search and Rescue Command.

We ask the public to not touch any debris that comes ashore from the CH-53s that crashed and to respect any cordons the Honolulu Fire Department and Police have established. Please note the location of debris and call 1-808-535-3333.

The aircraft are from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463, MAG 24, 1st MAW from Marine Corps Base Hawaii. We will provide more details as they become available.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell released the following statement:

"Everyone at the City and County has been deeply impacted by this incident and our hearts are breaking for the friends and 'ohana of the Marines involved.First responders with the Honolulu Fire Department, the Honolulu Police Department and the Ocean Safety Division have been doing all they can to assist in the search for survivors. A unified command post has been established at Hale‘iwa Small Boat Harbor to direct search and rescue efforts.A fire boat was deployed last night in an effort to locate survivors and wreckage from the apparent collision, but had to return to shore due to rising surf from an extremely large northwest swell. HFD’s helicopter has been assisting in the search, as well as a three watercraft rescue crews with the Ocean Safety Division. The city is working with military, federal and state DLNR partners to assist in the search and rescue efforts.The Department of Parks and Recreation has made Hale'iwa Ali'i Beach Park available as a recovery area. As a result, the park is closed to the public today. Residents or visitors who come across any debris from the accident are asked to call the Coast Guard immediately at (808) 535-3372, and refrain from moving or touching the objects until they are retrieved."

Story, video and photo gallery:

Capt. Kevin Roche

Ty Hart got married six months ago, according to his family.

HONOLULU — A Stayton High School graduate was one of the Marines aboard a helicopter that collided into another Marine chopper off the Hawaiian island of Oahu early Friday morning, according to the Marine's family.

Ty Hart, 21, was one of 12 crew members aboard the two helicopters, Hart's family told KGW's Katherine Cook.

"The aircraft are from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463, Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing from Marine Corps Base Hawaii," a Marine Corps statement said.

Ty Hart

Hart, a crew chief, got married six months ago, according to a family spokesperson. Hart's family is waiting for updates about the crash and requesting privacy.

Hart graduated from Stayton High School in 2012 and played on the Stayton Eagles football team.

None of the Marines aboard the helicopters have been located.

Navy destroyers  Gridley and John Paul Jones are taking part in search and rescue efforts along with the Coast Guard cutter Kiska and an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point,  officials said. A Coast Guard A C-130J was also part of the search but had to land when a bird struck it, said Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Scott Carr.

Marine Corps Base Hawaii posted a message on its Facebook page asking members of the public not to touch any debris from the helicopters that washes ashore and to respect any local police or fire department cordons around debris.

"Please note the location of debris and we will provide you a number to call very shortly," the message says.

Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Sara Mooers told The Associated Press that the Marine Corps reported a collision of two helicopters off the coast just before midnight, or 5 a.m. EST.

Mooers said each aircraft had six people aboard and that a debris field has been spotted 2½ miles off the coast, near the town of Haleiwa.


Two Houston-area Marines missing after aircraft collision in Hawaii

Twelve Marines are missing and feared to be dead after two military rotorcraft collided off the north shore of the Hawaiian island of Oahu late Thursday.

Houston-area Marines, Maj. Shawn Campbell and as Cpl. Matthew Drown are believed to be among the missing. Campbell attended Klein High School and Texas A&M University. Drown graduated from Klein Oak High School in 2011 .

Late Thursday night, the Coast Guard got word that two helicopters collided off the north shore of Owe Oahu during a training exercise. The Coast Guard, Navy, and local first responders searched by air and sea.

Rain, clouds, and high surf have made the search more of a challenge. Waves are expected to reach 30 feet. The only clue searchers have recovered is a small debris field about two miles off the coast. There is no sign of the 12 on board.

There are resources available for Marines and their families aboard the base. The families of the Marines are receiving constant contact concerning their loved ones and the search effort.

The mother of one of the missing Marines released a statement, "We appreciate your thoughts and your prayers, and our hearts go out to the other 11 families that are going through this horrible time as we are."

Campbell is stationed at the base in Hawaii. He's married with four children who also live in Hawaii.

Drown was a loving uncle who took great pride in his service, his brother Sean Drown said in an email to KPRC 2.  Sean's email went on to say, "He loved his family, friends and everyone he had the chance to meet. He never met a stranger and was always willing to help anyone he could. We are still hoping for his safe return home."

Story, video and photo gallery:

U.S. Marines walk on the beach at Waimea Bay near Haleiwa, Hawaii, where two military helicopters crashed into the ocean about 2 miles offshore, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016. The helicopters carrying 12 crew members collided off the Hawaiian island of Oahu during a nighttime training mission, and rescuers are searching a debris field in choppy waters Friday, military officials said.

A U.S. Marine walks on the beach at Waimea Bay near Haleiwa, Hawaii, where two military helicopters crashed into the ocean about 2 miles offshore, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016. The helicopters carrying 12 crew members collided off the Hawaiian island of Oahu during a nighttime training mission, and rescuers are searching a debris field in choppy waters Friday, military officials said.

Press conference highlights:
  • Marines lost contact with two helicopters during routine training at 10:45 p.m. Thursday.
  • No distress calls reported at time of crash.
  • Leave the search to professionals. Do not enter the water or touch debris.
  • Haleiwa Alii Beach Park and the surrounding area will be closed for several days.
Officials are asking the public to not touch any debris from this incident. If you find any debris, you are asked to call either 911, or Marine Corps Base Hawaii Emergency Operations Center at (808) 257-8458 or (808) 257-3023.

A massive search-and-rescue effort is underway after two Marine Corps helicopters crashed off Haleiwa late Thursday night.

Honolulu police closed off Haleiwa Alii Beach Park to the public Friday as a unified command post has been established at Haleiwa Small Boat Harbor to direct efforts in hopes to find survivors. A total of 12 crew members from both helicopters are missing.

The public is advised to stay out of the area over the next several days during the rescue and recovery operation.

Marine officials contacted the Coast Guard about the missing aircraft around 11 p.m. (4 a.m. Friday ET). The Honolulu Fire Department received calls around the same time from Kahaone Loop in Waialua.

Witnesses told KHON2 they called 911 at around 10:45 p.m. after hearing what sounded like a sonic boom. Residents said it felt like an earthquake.

“We heard a helicopter and it kind of sounded like, I don’t know, something off. It sounded like extremely loud and rumbling, like engine problems,” said Melissa Bush. “All of a sudden, we didn’t hear the helicopter. We looked out and there was literally fire, and right in front of us, fire and flames coming down… As they were coming down, all of a sudden you see a big fire explosion and then all of a sudden we didn’t see anything. It went black.”

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said that the city is working with military, federal and state DLNR partners to assist in the efforts. A total of four Jetskis are helping from Ocean Safety, with two of them devoted to the mission.

In a press conference Friday, it was reported that a group of over 50 Marines are at the command post to help identify debris from the collision that the Coast Guard has located. Search lights have been brought in to help with the effort.

USCG Lt. Scott Carr said a safety zone has been established between Kaena Point and Turtle Bay seven miles offshore where the debris “consistent with military aircraft” has been found.

He said weather conditions are making things difficult. “With 10 to 12 knot winds, swells at 16 feet, and breaking surf at 30 feet, it’s moving the debris all over the place.”

As of Friday afternoon, no dive teams were sent into the water. “It’s just barely safe for our rescue crews to be out there,” Carr said, “so it’s not safe for divers just yet.”

Two U.S. Marine Corps CH-53E heavy-lift transport helicopters went missing off the North Shore of Oahu late Thursday, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

USMC Capt. Timothy Irish said Friday morning that the helicopters were involved in “a routine preplanned training mission from a unit permanently assigned to the base to fly at night and return to the base.”

Marine Corps Major Gregory, assistant operations officer with the community aircraft group, added in a later press conference at the beach park that this was part of a weekly training mission for increasing combat readiness, specifically landings and low-level flight in the training area.

“Any time you fly at night, there’s going to be a risk,” he said, “but it was a training mission … (with) no increased level of danger or increased levels of threats to them.” The major added that there was no information available as to whether a Mayday or distress signal was sent previous to the accident.

According to Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Sara Mooers, the missing aircraft, from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463, Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, had a total of 12 people (6 on each helicopter) on board the two aircraft.

Searchers spotted a fire and a debris field, including an empty life raft, about 2.5 miles north of Haleiwa Beach, according to Mooers. The debris field was about 1.5 miles wide.

The Coast Guard cutters Ahi and Kiska are part of the rescue and recovery mission. Ahi is an 87-foot patrol boat that was in Maui. Kiska is a 110-foot patrol boat that reached the search area from Hilo at about 5 a.m.

The cause of the accident is under investigation by the Marine Corps.

An emergency family service center has been established at the Marine Corps Base Hawaii. The base has also posted on Facebook phone numbers for family member affected by the incident to receive support.

Families affected by the CH-53E mishap may utilize the C.A.A.R.E Center located at building 216 aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii. The C.A.A.R.E Center offers counseling, support and childcare for anyone needing assistance. Please stop by their office or call them at any of the following numbers. Please share to help spread the word.

(808) 257-7780

(808) 257-8803
(808) 257-8804
(808) 257-8805

A crisis support page has been posted on the Marine Corps Base Hawaii website.

In May 2015, a Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey aircraft crashed in Waimanalo during a training exercise, killing two Marines. Twenty-two people, one Navy Corpsman and 21 Marines, were on-board.

Crews involved in the search are:

Coast Guard
MH-65 Dolphin helicopter
HC-130 Hercules airplane


MH-60 helicopter from Kaneohe Bay

Honolulu Fire Department

Rescue Boat

Story, video, photo gallery, comments:

 The Marine Corps says two CH-53 transport helicopters, like the ones shown here, from the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing out of Kaneohe Bay crashed off Oahu’s North Shore late Thursday night.

 Two military helicopters collided off Oahu’s North Shore late Thursday night.

A search vessel cruises the waters off the beach at Haleiwa, Hawaii, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016. Two Marine helicopters carrying 12 crew members collided off the island of Oahu during a nighttime training mission, and rescuers are searching a debris field in choppy waters, military officials said.

A Navy ship searched the waters off of Haleiwa Boat Harbor.

Fire Department rescue personnel stand near a department helicopter near the beach at Haleiwa, Hawaii, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016. Two Marine helicopters carrying 12 crew members collided off the island of Oahu during a nighttime training mission, and rescuers are searching a debris field in choppy waters, military officials said.
A Honolulu Fire Department helicopter took off from Haleiwa Friday morning.

Military and rescue personnel in Haleiwa.

Jetskiers brave high surf outside of Haleiwa today. Two U.S. Marine helicopters collided late Thursday night over the ocean and a search began pre-dawn today in high surf for the Marines onboard.
Beachgoers watched the waves in Haleiwa this morning. The National Weather Service says North Shore waves are expected to peak today at 30 to 40 feet.