Search, rescue shifts to recovery operations

13 Mar 2015 | Capt. Barry Morris Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command

Search and rescue efforts to find the seven missing Marines and four Army aircrew in Eglin, Florida, shifted to recovery operations March 12. The implication of that change means we are not hopeful of finding any survivors.

Eglin search and recovery efforts with multiple agencies located the missing Army UH-60 aircraft, and they have begun the recovery process of all service members onboard the aircraft.

Out of respect for all family members involved, and as a matter of policy and practice, the identity of the Marines will not be confirmed until 24 hours after the final next of kin notification is complete. We must refer you to the respective Army National Guard public affairs office to confirm the names of the soldiers involved.

We anticipate the recovery will shift to the responsibility of the safety investigation board sometime today. That effort will be headed by the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center out of Fort Rucker, Alabama.

We want to thank all agencies that have contributed their exhaustive efforts in the initial response to this terrible tragedy. The U.S. Coast Guard and multiple state and county agencies have been extraordinarily supportive and we appreciate all their assistance.

Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families of the Marines and soldiers involved in this incident.

Media seeking additional information should contact the MARSOC Public Affairs Officer, Capt. Barry Morris via email: barry.morris@socom.mil or via phone: (910) 440-0770 or (910) 650-8472.