12 Marines were wearing sophisticated life-saving gear

12 Marines were wearing sophisticated life-saving gear (6 p.m.)
Published: Jan. 18, 2016 at 10:56 PM HST|Updated: Jan. 19, 2016 at 9:55 AM HST
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Image Source: U.S. Department of Defense
Image Source: U.S. Department of Defense

HALEIWA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The 12 Marines missing after two choppers crashed off Oahu were wearing sophisticated life-saving gear that's being factored into how long officials think they can survive in the open ocean.

The Marines were wearing helmets, eye and ear protection, and a life preserver unit with a breathing apparatus.

"I'd say It's better than a life jacket," said Capt. Alex Lim, Marine public affairs officer.

According to officials, some of the men may have also been carrying radios that have a GPS functionality on them if activated.

Officials released specifics on what the Marines were equipped with on the fourth day of searching for the 12 Marines, who range in age from 21 to 41.

Rescuers caught a break Monday with calmer ocean conditions and sunny skies. They said they've recovered three of the four rafts that were aboard the two choppers, but have found no sign of survivors.

"We've been finding metal debris," Lim said. "We can't confirm if it's part of the aircraft but anything and everything that can point us in the right direction, that looks like a CH-53 or a piece of a CH-53 that's what we're going for. Anything and everything these Marines find they take photos, collect, report it."

The Coast Guard said it is using sophisticated software to guide their search efforts. They continue to focus their search from Kaena Point to Kahuku and eight miles out.

Mobile users: Click here to see images of the search.

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