Part of crashed U.S. Navy chopper found, crew member still missing

WASHINGTON Thu Jan 9, 2014 2:41pm EST

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Searchers have found part of a U.S. Navy helicopter that crashed off the Virginia coast, killing two of five crew members, while one is still missing, the Navy said on Thursday.

The MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter was on a training flight on Wednesday when it went into the Atlantic Ocean near Fort Story, about 150 miles south of Washington.

The Virginia Beach Fire Department boats have discovered the fuselage and tail section using radar, the Navy said in a statement.

One of the survivors is in serious condition, and another has been upgraded to fair condition at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, it said.

Search and rescue operations are underway for the fifth crew member, said Commander Mike Kafka, spokesman for the Naval Air Force Atlantic.

Neither the two pilots nor the three air crew have been identified. The cause of the crash of the helicopter made by the Sikorsky unit of United Technologies Corp is under investigation.

The crew was part of Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron Fourteen, based at Norfolk Naval Station in Virginia.

(Reporting by Lacey Johnson; Editing by Ian Simpson and Sophie Hares)

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