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Navy recovers body of pilot missing in helicopter crash

Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia is preparing for a memorial service on Friday after the recovery of the body of a pilot missing in a helicopter crash.

Navy officials said the body of Lt. Sean Christopher Snyder, 39, of Santee, Calif., was recovered on Tuesday after searchers located the cockpit of the downed helicopter. Snyder and two other members of the helicopter crew died in the training mission.

A crew of five was on board the MH-53E Sea Dragon when it crashed Jan. 8 in the Atlantic Ocean about 18 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, according to the Navy.

Four crew members were pulled from the water but two died later at a hospital. The deceased were identified as Lt. Wesley Van Dorn, 29, of Greensboro, N.C., and Petty Officer 3rd Class Brian Andrew Collins, 25, of Truckee.

The other two crew members have been treated and released, the Navy said. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

Navy divers operating aboard the salvage ship Grasp located the helicopter's cockpit late Monday, the Navy said in a prepared statement.

Poor weather forced the suspension of recovery efforts on Monday, but they were resumed on Tuesday.

In a prepared statement, the Snyder family thanked the Navy for its efforts.

“Divers have recovered the remains of Lt. Sean Snyder. The family is truly thankful to the men and women of the United States Navy. Sean was a man of honor and a true hero, not only to his country, but also to his wife, children, family, and friends. Our strength and trust remain in Christ,” the statement said.

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