Navy Identifies 5 Killed in Helicopter Crash

The Navy released the names Wednesday of five crew members killed when their helicopter crashed during a nighttime training mission in the northern Nevada desert.

Those killed in the Monday night accident were identified as Cmdr. Michael D. Sheahan, 40, of Augusta, Ga.; Lt. Richard Francis Andersen Jr., 27, of Virginia Beach, Va.; and aviation warfare systems operators William Weatherford, 30, of Wichita, Okla., Jared John Rossetto, 24, of Corralitos, Calif., and Andrew Robert Bibbo, 22, of Clinton, Mass.

Their SH-60 Seahawk helicopter was assigned to Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron Seven, known as the "Dusty Dogs," based in Jacksonville, Fla. The squadron is part of Carrier Air Wing Three, which deploys on the USS Harry S. Truman.

The entire carrier air wing, about 1,800 personnel, was on a monthlong training mission at Naval Air Station Fallon 60 miles east of Reno when the accident occurred Monday night.

Sheahan, the squadron's commanding officer, was piloting the helicopter when it struck a high-voltage power line and crashed about 10 miles west of Austin in central Nevada, the Navy said.

The crew was participating in a simulated, nighttime combat search and rescue exercise, flying at a low altitude, when the helicopter flew into the transmission line and crashed, the military said.

Zip Upham, public affairs officer at NAS Fallon, said investigators continued to gather evidence at the crash site.

"At this point we're continuing the investigation at the wreck site," Upham said Wednesday. "Remains of the personnel have been removed and are being prepared so they can be returned to their loved ones for proper services."

Upham said findings of the investigation will be evaluated and used to try to prevent similar accidents in the future.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)