Volatile weather hampered the search Saturday for 12 Marines who were on two helicopters that crashed in mid-air off the coast of Hawaii the day before, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
The two CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters were conducting a nighttime training mission at the time of the incident, which happened off the coast of Haleiwa, located on the North Shore of Oahu.
The search expanded Saturday from Waianae to Kahuku, and the search area extends eight miles out to sea, the Coast Guard said. By 8 a.m. Saturday 22 searches had covered 5,000 square nautical miles, the Coast Guard said.
The Coast Guard reported "no significant developments" Saturday. "Weather still a challenge," the Coast Guard said. Searchers were contending with winds up to 12 mph and 13-foot swells, the Coast Guard said.
“Everybody’s putting every available resource they have to try and find survivors from this accident," Coast Guard Lt. Scott Carr said Friday. "With a little bit of luck and a little bit of prayer, we’ll be successful." Carr said debris had been found across the entire search area, but there were no signs of survivors.
The cause of the crash, involving aircraft from the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing from Marine Corps Base Hawaii, has not yet been determined.
Chase Tantog said he was fishing on the shore when the helicopters collided nearby, lighting the sky in an instant.
"It was just a big fireball coming down … It was like daytime," Tangtog said. “I thought the world was going to end.”