NAVARRE, Fla. (MEDIA GENERAL) – We now have a better understanding of exactly what happened when a US Military Black Hawk helicopter went down in a bay off the coast of Florida Tuesday night.
Thursday, military officials briefed the press on the timeline of events.
Tuesday 8:30 p.m. – Army lost contact with the military chopper. While emergency responders were not called for another hour-and-a-half, the Army followed protocol, according to officials. There were training boats in the water doing an initial search when emergency responders arrived on scene.
10:00 p.m. – Emergency responders were called and arrived on scene. Weather conditions made the search effort difficult.
11:30 p.m. – According to officials, boats that did get on scene, couldn’t see. They were traveling five miles per hour and afraid to run into each other, looking for survivors. Operations ran through the night.
Wednesday morning – Sonar from the Coast Guard arrived late Wednesday morning.
9:00 a.m. – About this time, the Coast Guard’s sonar got a hit in the bay. Divers were sent down to visually assess the scene. Divers with snorkels were able to see the helicopter at the bottom of the bay at a depth of about 25 feet.
10:00 a.m. – It took about another hour to do a full sonar map of the bottom of the bay. The high impact crash had broken the chopper into many pieces, according to officials.
2:00 p.m. – Divers went into the water to retrieve the aircrew. These operations continued into the evening.
6:30 p.m. – By this time, water conditions had turned to zero visibility under water. Operations had to stop because of the lack of visibility.
Thursday – The operation is now in the recovery and investigation phases. A salvage unit is coming in out of Mobile to assist with recovering the crash. However, poor weather conditions, once again, will likely delay the operation until at least Friday.
Military officials did confirm that they have recovered some human remains. They also said the flight data recorder remains at the bottom of the bay with the wreckage. The ongoing investigation will look at everything from the decision to fly in Tuesday night’s weather to what happened in the moments before the crash.