KANEOHE BAY, Hi.-- A local Marine has been identified as one of 12 reported missing after a helicopter crash in Hawaii.
Sgt. Adam C. Schoeller, of South Middleton Township, Cumberland County, was on board one of two CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters that collided Thursday night. The choppers impacted the water off the coast of Oahu's Waimea Bay along the North Shore.
His parents, who still live in South Middleton Township, traveled to Hawaii to be with his wife. In a statement they said, "The family is remaining optimistic. There are thousands praying for a positive outcome for these Marines and the search and rescue efforts. We value all of the thoughts and prayers offered up on our behalf during this very difficult time.”
Search and rescue operations have been underway since Thursday, but have been difficult because of low visibility. Dangerous surf, with ocean swells up to 16-feet, has also caused problems, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. They expanded their search on Sunday.
People at Schoeller's childhood church, Great Hope Baptist, said special prayers for his safety. Adam's brother and sister traveled to Hawaii Sunday. His grandparents are staying home and attended the evening mass at Great Hope.
"Everyone here, at the church, is part of a family so, when they are struggling, we all are struggling," said Stephen Bash, who taught Adam at the church when he was a teenager.
"I am hurting with them. The anxiety of not knowing is very difficult," added Adam's former pastor and Air Force veteran Dale Barrick.
Faith and prayer is giving the family strength as they wait for news. Schoeller graduated from Boiling Springs High School in 2008. He joined the Marines immediately afterward. While stationed in North Carolina, he met his wife, Samantha Wickel. They wed on July 4, 2015.
The church further prayed for the safety of the 11-other missing Marines and for the rescue crews. They asked God to calm the weather so the search would be easier.
Since Thursday, crews have spotted an empty life raft and some debris in the choppy water, but there has been no sign of the Marines. The group is said to have had aquatic survival training.
The other missing 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. 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.