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San Diego

Search ends for air crash victims

November 02, 2009|Tony Perry

The Coast Guard on Sunday halted its rescue effort for nine missing military air crew members from a midair collision off San Clemente Island, officials said.

"I have concluded that hope is no longer viable," said Rear Adm. Joseph Castillo.

The Coast Guard and Navy had searched since Thursday night for the seven crew members aboard a Coast Guard C-130 transport and the two pilots aboard a Marine Corps Super Cobra helicopter.

The craft collided at 7:10 p.m. Thursday about 20 miles east of the island.

Castillo said searchers had found debris but no bodies or signs that anyone survived. An investigation has been launched into the cause of the collision.

The Coast Guard has not shifted to a "recovery mode," Castillo said.

-- Tony Perry

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