Search now a recovery mission
The U.S. Coast Guard shifted Sunday from a search and rescue
mission to a recovery operation for nine crew members lost in a disastrous crash
off the San Diego coast.
The search for survivors was suspended shortly before 10 a.m.
after a final rescue effort by a Coast Guard Jayhawk helicopter returned with no
promising news. So ended 63 hours of search over more than 644 square miles of
the Pacific Ocean.
"It's not likely that anyone would have survived," Lt. Josh
Nelson, the Coast Guard's public affairs officer in San Diego, told The Bee.
Seven people were aboard a Coast Guard C-130 Hercules plane that
left Sacramento on a mission to find a skiff with one aboard reported missing
near Catalina Island. Two people were inside a Marine Corps helicopter on a
training mission out of Camp Pendleton. The two aircraft collided Thursday
Coast Guard officials said Sunday they would not speculate on
the cause of the collision.
The commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard has called for an
investigation, which is ongoing, said Capt. J.J. O'Connor, commanding officer of
the Coast Guard Air Station in Sacramento, where the C-130 departed for its
ill-fated flight on Thursday night.
A multi-agency joint mishap analysis board that includes the
Coast Guard and Marine Corps will help guide the decision on the extent and
duration of salvage efforts, Nelson said.
Among the questions for investigators is aircraft collision
avoidance systems. The Coast Guard C-130 does have a collision avoidance system,
which detects another aircraft in the area provided the other craft's
transponder is squawking, Nelson said.
Investigators also will be looking for the on-board recording
system for details on the crash.
The missing boater, identified as 50-year-old David Thomas Jines
of Avalon, Catalina Island, has not been found, Petty Officer Christina Bozeman
of the Los Angeles-Long Beach Coast Guard station said Sunday.
She said the search for Jines had continued despite the Thursday
night casualties, but ended Saturday.
The Jayhawk's four-member crew on Sunday morning saw some debris
from the crash area before returning to San Diego, Nelson said. The debris was
not widely dispersed because winds were benign, he said.
The nearly 200 members of the Sacramento Coast Guard station
stood down after the crash and will remain so until next Monday. Coast Guard Air
Station Barbers Point Hawaii has stepped in to handle Sacramento station
In the shade of a C-130 plane at McClellan on Sunday, O'Connor
said at a news conference that four chaplains and a number of grief counselors
had arrived to help the families of the missing crew members as well as the
nearly 200 members of the Sacramento Coast Guard station.
"The Coast Guard family at large and especially here in
Sacramento is grieving and coping with our loss," O'Connor said.
Chaplain Mark Smith, a captain in the Navy Chaplain Corps, which
also serves the Marine Corps and Coast Guard, said he arrived Sunday morning in
Sacramento to assist Chaplain Darrell Wesley.
Wesley, a Navy Chaplain Corps commander, came to Sacramento as
soon as he heard about the collision, Smith said.
"He came here from Alameda, because they know him," Smith
Smith said chaplains and counselors are giving grieving family
members and Coast Guard members "a chance to talk and help put things into
perspective and help focus their efforts to honor the people they care
The Coast Guard is holding a memorial service for the crew to be
attended by family and friends at 11 a.m. Friday at McClellan Air Park in North
Officials said Sunday night they will announce this week whether
the memorial service will be open to the public.
- As a child in Capay, pilot yearned to fly
Coast Guard crew: Lt. Cmdr. Che J. Barnes, 35,
Capay, aircraft commander; Lt. Adam W. Bryant, 28, Crewe, Va., co-pilot; Chief
Petty Officer John F. Seidman, 43, Carmichael, flight engineer; Petty Officer
2nd Class Carl P. Grigonis, 35, Mayfield Heights, Ohio, navigator; Petty
Officer 2nd Class Monica L. Beacham, 29, Decaturville, Tenn., radio operator;
Petty Officer 2nd Class Jason S. Moletzsky, 26, Norristown, Pa., air crew; and
Petty Officer 3rd Class Danny R. Kreder II, 22, Elm Mott, Texas, drop master.
Marine Corps crew: Maj. Samuel Leigh, 35, Kennebec, Maine; 1st Lt.
Thomas Claiborne, 26, Parker, Colo.
C-130 Crash Brings Wave of Support for Sacramento Coast
SACRAMENTO, CA - As the search continued for seven
Sacramento-based crewmen lost in the suspected crash of a Coast Guard C-130 and a Marine
Corps helicopter, Coast Guard Air
Station Sacramento officials thanked the national and international
organizations that rallied support for their outpost since Thursday's
"We are very thankful that we have had an outpouring of
support from throughout the United States," Air Station Sacramento operations
officer Cmdr. Mitchell Morrison said. "We feel very blessed that we have had
Air Station Sacramento executive officer Cmdr. Greg
Station executive officer Cmdr. Greg Buxa said since
Thursday's crash near San Clemente Island, Coast Guard units from the Bay Area
and beyond have pitched in to help the depleted Sacramento station maintain its
A C-130 crew from Barbers Point, Hawaii, arrived Friday
to help take over the Sacramento watch as well as help station personnel through
the tragedy. A four-man Barbers Point
helicopter crew died in September 2008
when their craft crashed during a training exercise.
Local agencies also stepped up to help the Air Station
Sacramento community. A Sacramento Metro Fire incident management team moved in
to help the station assemble data on the crash and respond to the accident.
Meanwhile, Sacramento city fire personnel aided with staffing support, Mitchell
The missing crew members from the Coast Guard C-130 were
identified as aircraft commander Lt. Cmdr. Che J.
Barnes, 35, of Capay; co-pilot Lt.
Adam W. Bryant, 28, of Crewe, Va.; flight engineer Chief Petty Officer John
F. Seidman, 43, of Carmichael; navigator Petty Officer 2nd Class Carl P.
Grigonis, 35, from Mayfield Heights, Ohio; radio operator Petty Officer 2nd
Class Monica L. Beacham, 29, of Decaturville, Tenn.; Petty Officer 2nd
Class Jason S. Moletzsky, 26, of Norristown, Pa.; and drop master Petty Officer
3rd Class Danny R. Kreder II, 22, from Elm Mott, Tex.