7 Marines, 4 soldiers missing after Army helicopter crashes over water in Florida Panhandle

7 Marines, 4 soldiers missing after Army helicopter crashes over water in Florida Panhandle

Seven Marines and four soldiers were missing Wednesday after a helicopter crashed over the water on the Florida Panhandle during a routine night training exercise, and officials said heavy fog was hampering search efforts.

The helicopter — a UH-60 Black Hawk from the Army National Guard — was reported missing around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, and search-and-rescue crews found debris around 2 a.m., said Andy Bourland, spokesman for Eglin Air Force Base, outside Pensacola.

“At this time all are missing,” Bourland said.

Dense fog created low visibility early Wednesday and the area was under a fog advisory, but it was unclear what conditions were like at the time of the crash.

Local law enforcement agencies vehicles were gathering Wednesday at the crash scene, near a remote swath of beach between Pensacola and Destin. The beach is owned by the military and is used for test missions.

Base officials said the Marines are part of a Camp Lejeune, North Carolina-based special operations group. The soldiers were from a Hammond, Louisiana-based National Guard unit. Names of those involved were not immediately released, pending notification of next of kin, Bourland said.

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