Coast Guard calls off search for men missing after helicopter crash in Dare County

North Carolina

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The Coast Guard has suspended its search for two people after a reported helicopter crash in the area of the Albemarle Sound, in Dare County.

Just before 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, a Coast Guard Jayhawk helicopter crew found helicopter debris in the water about 9 miles north of the Alligator River Bridge in the Albemarle Sound, just about 45 minutes after someone recovered a backpack with personal belongings about 3.5 miles south of the mouth of the Alligator River, the Coast Guard says.

A friend of the two men in the Robinson R44 helicopter that reportedly crashed told the Coast Guard they had lost communication with the helicopter at 6:40 p.m. Monday.

The two men aboard had planned to land at the Dare County Regional Airport Monday night after taking off from Mecklenburg Brunswick Regional Airport.

Petty Officer Steve Lehmann confirmed the search was called off around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. He said they spent almost 38 hours searching and covered around 3000 square miles.

Dare County officials have not released the mens’ names, but Lehmann confirmed the men are both around 38 years old.

These parties were all involved in the search:

  • A Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City
  • An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City
  • A 29-foot Response Boat-Small boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Elizabeth City 
  • A N.C. Marine Patrol boatcrew 
  • N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission  
  • Tyrell County Sheriff’s Department

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