South Korean helicopter crashes during joint maritime drills
SEOUL, South Korea — A search was underway Tuesday for three crew members missing after a South Korean military helicopter crashed into the sea off the country’s east coast while participating in joint maritime drills with the U.S. Navy.
The Lynx helicopter sent out a distress signal and disappeared from radar eight minutes after taking off from an Aegis destroyer Monday evening.
So far, searchers have found only debris, including the helicopter’s door and a helmet, a South Korean military official said, speaking on condition of anonymity according to department policy.
The crash site was near the inter-Korean maritime border known as the Northern Limit Line, but the official said currents suggested any drift would have been in a different direction.
An investigation into the cause of the crash was ongoing, but weather conditions were not a problem, another official said.
Pyongyang does not acknowledge the NLL, saying it was unilaterally drawn by the U.S.-led United Nations Command after the 1950-53 war on the peninsula ended in an armistice instead of a peace treaty.
All 20 Lynx helicopters operated by the South’s navy will be suspended pending an investigation into what caused the accident, the Yonhap news agency reported. The helicopter that crashed is more than 30 years old and was first deployed to the navy in 1999, it said.