Missing Marines in Hawaii copter crash declared dead

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Sgt. Adam Schoeller of Gardners, PA is one of the 12 Marines missing after two helicopters crashed off the coast of Hawaii.

Twelve Marines who went missing when the two helicopters carrying them apparently crashed off the coast of Hawaii last week have been declared dead.

A witness on January 14 saw a fireball in midair; another reported seeing a flare. The U.S. Marine Corps notified the Coast Guard that two CH-53 copters, carrying six men each, were missing. A search ensued involving the Navy, the National Guard, as well as Hawaii fire, police and Ocean Safety.

The Marine Corps on Thursday said it changed the status of the Marines to deceased “after five full days of search and rescue operations.”

Base Hawaii previously identified them as:

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

— Capt. Brian T. Kennedy, 31, Philadelphia

— Capt. Kevin T. Roche, 30, St. Louis

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

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

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

— 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

When the search was officially suspended at sunset Tuesday in Hawaii, a total of 130 rescue personnel had covered 40,530 nautical square miles, an area about the size of Florida, in a 115-hour search effort, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

The Marines and their helicopters were on a training flight when they all appeared to go down. No mayday call was received, just word that something had gone wrong, the Coast Guard said.

Searchers spotted a fire and debris field, including an empty life raft, about 2½ miles north of Haleiwa Beach and later found floating pieces of debris consistent with military aircraft.

Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463 will hold a memorial service honoring 12 of its Marines aboard Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, Jan 22, 2016 at 3:00pm EST. The memorial service is available live via webstream and satellite
Live stream: https://www.dvidshub.net/webcast/7722