HAWAII (CN) - Search and rescue efforts continued in rough seas Friday after two U.S. Marine Corps helicopters crashed off Oahu's North Shore late Thursday night.
Twelve service members were on board the Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters, which were conducting routine night training from Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe.
Official statements from both the U.S. Coast Guard and Navy reported that an active search is underway for survivors of what is suspected to be a collision between the two helicopters, which both had six crew members aboard.
Hawaii News Now reported witnesses "hearing aircraft and then seeing a fireball," while another reported "seeing a flare."
Rescue personnel are searching for survivors in a debris field north of Haleiwa, the Coast Guard said. The search area spans about 20 miles along the shoreline. Searchers will have to contend with the largest surf swell of the season - expected to reach 35 to 45 feet - moving into the waters off Oahu's North Shore.
The missing aircraft are assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463, Marine Aircraft Group 24,1st Marine Aircraft Wing, the Marine Corps tweeted.
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