Missing Marines declared dead after Hawaii crash

This Friday, Jan. 15, 2016 photo provided by the U.S. Marine Corps shows a Marine Officer attached to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463 uses binoculars to search for debris of a helicopter mishap in Haliewa Beach Park, Hawaii. Rescuers battled winds of up to 23 mph and waves up to 30 feet as they searched for 12 Marines who are missing after two helicopters they were in crashed off the Hawaiian island of Oahu.(Cpl. Ricky S. Gomez/U.S. Marine Corps via AP)

HONOLULU (AP) – The Marine Corps says the 12 Marines, including one from Woodruff, who were in two helicopters that crashed off Hawaii are considered dead.

The status of the missing Marines changed to deceased on Wednesday, after five days of searching for them. The Marine Corps says casualty assistance calls officers personally notified each family of the change.

The search began late Thursday when a civilian on a beach reported seeing the aircraft flying and then a fireball.

The Marines were alerted when the CH-53E helicopters carrying six crew members each failed to return to their base at Kaneohe Bay following a nighttime training mission. Hours later, a Coast Guard helicopter and C-130 airplane spotted debris 2 1/2 miles off of Oahu.

The Marines were from various states and ranged in age from 21 to 41.

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