Team Coverage: Mike Mather reports live from airplane over scene of fatal Navy helo crash

Posted at 11:53 PM, Jan 08, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-09 00:31:16-05

While ships staked out a search area about 18 miles off the Virginia Beach coast, a swarm of helicopters and small boats streaked through the air and slashed through the sea searching for a crewmember missing from a crashed helicopter.

From above the search area, we could see a pair of orange life boats dotting the still water, green dye trailing from one.

Rescuers from at least three agencies converged quickly and pulled four of the five crew members from the water. The air and the water were bitterly cold, but the clearness and calmness of the afternoon allowed searchers to use several small and speedy boats in the rescue mission.

"The seas are absolutely flat. There is no issue with the sea at all here, or with visibility. This is an ideal day for flying and searching and we can certainly see they are expending tremendous efforts to try to locate this missing crew member."

For a long while, one of the helicopters hovered just above the water. Three boats raced to it. It wasn't clear to us what was happening, but shortly after, the helicopters began landing on ships, and some of the small boats started heading back to shore.

By sundown, there was still no word on the missing crewmember.