Navy suspends search and rescue operations for missing Lake Erie Sailor
SAN DIEGO - U.S. Navy and Coast Guard assets suspended search and rescue operations at sunset, approximately 7:30 p.m. local time, Aug. 22, after an extensive four-day search was unable to locate a Sailor reported missing from USS Lake Erie (CG 70) earlier in the week.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the Sailor’s family during this difficult time,” said Capt. Christine O’Connell, commanding officer of Lake Erie. “Losing a shipmate is devastating and felt by our entire crew. We will continue to support the family in any way we can.”
The Lake Erie initiated man overboard procedures Aug. 19, at approximately 7 a.m. local time after the Sailor failed to report for duty and several attempts to locate the Sailor aboard the ship were unsuccessful.
Seven U.S. Navy ships along with multiple Navy and U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) aircraft, including Navy MH-60 helicopters and E-2 Hawkeye, Coast Guard C-27 Spartans and MH-60 Jayhawk, and a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol aircraft flew more than 125 sorties, searching more than 13,600 square nautical miles of open water. Lake Erie served as on-scene commander and USCG District 11 as mission coordinator throughout the operation.
The ship was conducting routine training operations with John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group in the eastern Pacific Ocean.
The incident remains under investigation.