Marine from Oregon on helicopter involved in crash off Oahu - KPTV - FOX 12

Marine from Oregon on helicopter involved in crash off Oahu

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Crews were searching off the coast of Oahu Friday after two Marine Corps helicopters collided just before midnight Thursday. (Photo: CNN) Crews were searching off the coast of Oahu Friday after two Marine Corps helicopters collided just before midnight Thursday. (Photo: CNN)
The crash occurred on a nighttime training mission off the Hawaiian island. Each helicopter was carrying six crew members, including a man from Stayton, Oregon. (Photo: CNN) The crash occurred on a nighttime training mission off the Hawaiian island. Each helicopter was carrying six crew members, including a man from Stayton, Oregon. (Photo: CNN)
STAYTON, OR (KPTV/AP) -

A U.S. Marine from Oregon was on board one of the two helicopters involved in a crash off the Hawaiian Island of Oahu.

The family of 2012 Stayton High School graduate Ty Hart confirmed Friday he was on one of the helicopters.

Hart's mother said they are thinking positive and holding out hope Hart is OK.

"There's no doubt in my mind right now that he's treading water or he's in a life raft waiting to be picked up," Trina Hart told Fox 12. "We just ask that everyone keep that hope for Ty and the other 11 Marines. It's not just our son that's out there treading water, there's 12 of them."

Hart said her son grew up as an athlete in martial arts, baseball, football, and track before graduating from Stayton High School in 2012. He and his wife, Hannah, got married seven months ago at his family home. Ty's parents and two brothers flew to Hawaii to spend 11 days with them on the island over the Thanksgiving holiday.

"He did exactly what he wanted to do. He wanted to be a Crew Chief on a 53, so he was doing exactly what he wanted to do," his father, Michael, added.

They said Ty has been stationed in Hawaii for the last year and a half, and has excelled at everything he's ever done.

"I will not give up hope unless I'm told to, because I know how strong he is. I know how much mental training this boy has had," his mother said. "We know that the United States Marine Corps trains our soldiers to be the best. Period. End of discussion. There’s no mediocrity, there’s no in between, there’s no maybe. That’s why I know that if things went bad, [or] looked like they were going bad, Ty went into mode to do what he was trained to do." 

The crash occurred on a nighttime training mission just before midnight Thursday. Each helicopter was carrying six crew members.

Hours later, a Coast Guard helicopter and C-130 airplane spotted a debris field 2 1/2 miles offshore. The debris covered an area of 2 miles, Marine Capt. Timothy Irish said.

The CH-53E choppers were part of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing at Marine Corps Base Hawaii. Known as Super Stallions, they are the U.S. military's largest helicopter, capable of carrying a light armored vehicle, 16 tons of cargo or a team of combat-equipped Marines, according to a Marine Corps website.

The search for survivors Friday included Air Force units, as well as a Honolulu Fire Department rescue boat and Coast Guard cutters, officials said.

Two Navy ships, the USS John Paul Jones and the USS Gridley, were also participating, along with a Navy squadron of SH-60 helicopters, Navy spokeswoman Agnes Tauyan said.

Rough weather was making the search difficult, with winds blowing up to 23 mph and breaking surf up to 30 feet.

Copyright 2016 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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