2 crew members killed after Navy helicopter crash in Red Sea identified

Search called off Monday

SAN DIEGO - The Navy on Tuesday identified two helicopter crew members killed when a Coronado-based MH-60S Knighthawk crashed Sunday in the Red Sea.

The victims were Lt. Cmdr. Landon Jones, 35, of Lompoc, and Chief Warrant Officer Jonathon Gibson, 32, of Aurora, Ore., the Navy reported.

The chopper, assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 6 at Naval Air Station North Island, crashed while the pilot was trying to land on deck of the San Diego-based guided-missile destroyer USS William P. Lawrence and was not related to "any sort of hostile activity," Navy officials said.

Three of the helicopter's five crew members were "accounted for and stable" following the crash, according to the Navy.

Searchers combed the area in boats and aircraft to no avail. The search was called off Monday when it became apparent that the odds of survivability were low, according to the Navy.

The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz and the William P. Lawrence, along with USS Princeton, USS Shoup, USS Stockdale and USNS Rainier, were involved in the search efforts, as were Navy and U.S. Air Force aircraft, according to the Navy.

The vessels are part of a buildup of U.S. military forces in the region that started after the regime in nearby Syria attacked a suburb of the capital of Damascus with chemical weapons on Aug. 21, killing 1,429 people.

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