2 die in USS Nimitz strike group chopper crash

SAN DIEGO — The Navy on Tuesday released the names of two helicopter crew members killed when their MH-60S Knighthawk crashed in the Red Sea.

Killed were Lt. Cmdr. Landon Jones, 35, of Lompoc, Calif., and Chief Warrant Officer Jonathon Gibson, 32, of Aurora, Ore.

Three other crew members were rescued and are in stable condition, the Navy said. The crew was from the Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 6 at North Island Naval Air Station in Coronado, Calif.

The crash occurred Sunday as the helicopter was attempting to land on the destroyer William Lawrence.

The William Lawrence is part of the Everett-based carrier USS Nimitz strike group that has been ordered into the Red Sea amid tensions between the U.S. and Syria over use of chemical weapons during the Syrian civil war.

The crash was not due to any hostile action, the Navy said.

After rescuing the three, Navy boats and helicopters continued to search for the remaining two. The search was ended when officials declared that there was not a realistic chance that they had survived.

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