Florida helicopter crash: Seven US marines and four soldiers presumed dead after Black Hawk military helicopter crashes during training exercise

The helicopter came down during a routine night training exercise

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The Independent Online

Debris has been found at the site of a US Army helicopter crash in Florida which has left 11 US troops missing and presumed dead.

Seven Marines and four soldiers were on board the aircraft, which came down in the Florida Panhandle.

The helicopter is believed to have crashed during a night training exercise at Eglin Air Force Base, which was under thick fog.

A Pentagon official, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Associated Press that the 11 service members were presumed dead and that the Coast Guard had found debris in the water.

Eglin spokesman Andy Bourland confirmed that the Marines were part of a Camp Lejeune-based special operations group and the soldiers were from a Hammond, Louisiana-based National Guard unit.

Mr Bourland said that the names of those involved were being withheld until their next of kin could be notified.

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The UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter from the Army National Guard was reported missing at around 8:30 pm on Tuesday, while on a routine training mission on a remote area of beach between Pensacola and Destin.

It had taken off from a nearby airport in Destin and joined other aircraft in the training exercise. The beach is owned by the military and is used for test missions.

Sara Vidoni, public affairs specialist at Eglin Air Force Base, said that the area was under a fog advisory and was still "extremely foggy" on Wednesday morning, which was affecting the search.

Search and rescue crews found debris from the crash at 2am on Wednesday.

Yesterday two helicopters collided in Argentina, killing 10 people – including French Olympic gold medal swimmer Camille Muffat, Olympic boxer Alexis Vastine and sailor Florence Arthaud.

The aircraft were being used to transport cast and crew for a reality TV survival show.

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