Navy temporarily suspends dive operations for helo crash due to weather conditions

Posted at 5:14 PM, Jan 10, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-10 20:47:45-05

Virginia Beach, Va. - The Navy announced on Friday that they are temporarily suspending their dive operations following a fatal helicopter crash on Wednesday due to weather conditions.

They stated in a press release that they are doing this as a safety precaution.

"Our priority right now is to bring our missing Sailor back to his family. We have a lot of dedicated, highly skilled men and women working to accomplish just that. However, as weather conditions are expected to worsen in the coming hours, safety is absolutely paramount," said Rear Adm. Kevin Scott, the director of Joint and Fleet Operations.

Officials say recovery operations at the crash site will resume once the weather is better.

The USS Ross and USS Oak Hill will continue to provide security patrols until operations resume.

The USS Jason Dunham and USNS Medgar Evers returned to Naval Station Norfolk today while the USS Mesa Verde left the crash site.

The USNS Grasp (T-ARS 51) and divers from Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2 will return to Naval Station Norfolk once conditions are safe.

"Dive operations are inherently dangerous and it takes time to methodically search the designated area," said Cmdr. Jeffrey Morganthaler, commander, MDSU2. "Weather presents a lot of variables into our dive operations and, while our divers are experienced and highly trained, we want to ensure the search for the missing aviator can be conducted as safely as possible."

Click here for more of our team coverage of the helicopter crash.