12 Missing After 2 US Marine Helicopters Collide Over Hawaii

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The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for survivors after two military helicopters collided off the coast of Oahu.

The U.S. Marine Corps CH-53 helicopters with 12 people aboard were missing Friday after the apparent collision.

Searchers spotted a fire and a debris field, including an empty life raft, about 2½ miles north of Haleiwa Beach, according to Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Sara Mooers.

Marine officials contacted the Coast Guard about the missing aircraft around 11 p.m., Mooers said.

Witnesses said they heard a loud boom over the water and a flash in the sky, according to KHON.

Six people were on board each of the two heavy-lift transport helicopters, according to Mooers.

The Marine Corps tweeted Friday that the missing aircraft are assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463, part of the 1st Marine Air Wing. According to the unit’s website, it is stationed at Marine Corps Naval Air Station Kaneohe Bay.

The Coast Guard sent a helicopter and an HC-130 search plane, and two cutters have also been requested, Hawaii News Now, a CNN affilate, reported.

Weather could be a factor in the search. Hawaii News Now reported waves of 30 feet to 40 feet are expected Friday.