Divers Recover Remains of Missing U.S. Navy Pilot Off Virginia

Rob Almeida
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January 15, 2014

File photo of Lt. Christopher Sean Snyder
File photo of Lt. Christopher Sean Snyder. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

The remains of missing U.S. Navy “Sea Dragon” pilot, Lt. Sean Christopher Snyder, have been found according to a statement by the Navy this morning.

Salvage operations launched from the USNS Grasp (T-ARS-51) utilizing a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) located the MH-53E “Sea Dragon” helicopter on Monday and found the officer’s body still inside.

Five souls were on board when the helicopter crashed during on a training mission on 8 January off Virginia Beach. Only two survived.

The U.S. Navy notes that salvage operations had to be suspended on Monday due to deteriorating weather off Norfolk, Virginia, but that divers from Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) 2 have since recovered the remains.l

A memorial service for the three crewmembers killed in the crash is being planned for Friday at Naval Station Norfolk and the Navy notes that the cause of the crash is still under investigation.

The Snyder family released the following statement:

“The family is truly thankful to the men and women of the United States Navy. Sean was a man of honor and a true hero, not only to his country, but also to his wife, children, family, and friends. Our strength and trust remain in Christ.”

Lt. J. Wesley Van Dorn, 29, of Greensboro, North Carolina and Petty Officer 3rd Class Brian Andrew Collins, 25, of Truckee, California also perished in the crash.

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