Recovery operation of downed Marine helicopters continues - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Recovery operation of downed Marine helicopters continues

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NORTH SHORE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

As efforts to salvage two downed helicopters continues, "trace elements" of remains of some of the 12 victims have been recovered, the U.S. Marines confirmed.

The Marines, however, declined to provide further details.

"Trace elements of remains -- in the form of DNA -- were recovered during the search and rescue phase," said Capt. Cassandra Gesecki, in an email to news outlets. "Nothing ... has been found since then."

About 80 military personnel are continuing to work on recovering the choppers. A specialized salvage ship has also arrived at the wreckage site.

On Jan. 14, two CH-53E Super Stallions collided about two miles off Haleiwa, creating what witnesses described as a “fireball” in the night sky.

Multiple county, state and federal agencies searched around the clock by air and seas for the missing Marines. The search was suspended five days later with no survivors found.

All four life rafts from the choppers were recovered. Crews also found some debris – including what looked like a blanket, an item that appeared to be made of wood and other small pieces of debris -- in the water and on beaches.

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