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Helicopters carrying 12 Marines collide off Oahu; no word on survivors

Helicopters carrying 12 Marines collide off Oahu; no word on survivors
In this Feb. 18, 2003, file photo, U.S. Marines and their Philippine counterparts jump from a CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter at Ternate in Cavite province south of Manila. The U.S. Coast Guard says two Marine helicopters have collided off Oahu. (Bullit Marquez / AP)

The U.S. Coast Guard said Friday that two Marine helicopters — each carrying six people — have collided off the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Sara Mooers said the Marine Corps reported the collision just before midnight local time.

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Mooers said a debris field has been spotted 2 1/2 miles off the coast, near the town of Haleiwa.

The Marine Corps tweeted that there is an active search-and-rescue underway.

A U.S. defense official, who wasn't authorized to speak on the matter, said that the Navy lost contact with the helicopter around midnight local time and that six Marines were onboard each helicopter when they collided.

Marine spokesman Capt. Philip J. Kulczewski confirmed that there is a search-and-rescue operation for two CH-53E Marine Super Stallion helicopters off the coast of Oahu.

The aircraft are from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463, Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing from Marine Corps Base Hawaii, located about 12 northeast of Honolulu.

A CH–53 helicopter flying from Tustin Marine Corps Air Station on April 3, 1996.
A CH–53 helicopter flying from Tustin Marine Corps Air Station on April 3, 1996. (Gail Fisher / Los Angeles Times)

There was no immediate word on what caused the collision or whether any survivors have been found.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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