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Remains of Salem sailor, others killed in August helicopter crash recovered

The two pilots and three other sailors were lost in an Aug. 31 accident

This undated photo released by the U.S. Navy shows Naval Air Crewman (Helicopter) 2nd Class James P. Buriak, 31, from Salem, Va., his wife Megan, and their son Caulder. Buriak was one of five sailors who died when an MH-60S helicopter crashed in the Pacific Ocean on Aug. 31, 2021, about 70 miles (112 kilometers) off San Diego during what the Navy described as routine flight operations. It was operating from the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln. (Petty Officer 1st Class David Mora/U.S. Navy via AP) (Petty Officer 1St Class David Mora, Public Domain)

SAN DIEGO – The remains of five people and the wreckage of a U.S. Navy helicopter that crashed in the Pacific Ocean off California have been recovered, the Navy said in a statement Tuesday.

The MH-60S helicopter, its two pilots and three other sailors were lost in an Aug. 31 accident about 69 miles off the San Diego coast.

[Salem mourns the loss of Navy sailor killed in helicopter crash]

A salvage team aboard the multipurpose vessel HOS Bayou made the recovery from a depth of about 5,300 feet on Friday, the Navy said.

The Bayou arrived at Naval Station North Island in San Diego Bay on Sunday and the human remains were sent to Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, for identification.

The helicopter was operating from the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln when its rotor hit the flight deck and the aircraft fell into the ocean. One crew member was rescued immediately after the crash.

A search for any other survivors went on for nearly a week before the Navy declared the missing sailors dead.

The crewmembers are, from top left: Lt. Bradley A. Foster, pilot; Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Sarah F. Burns; and Lt. Paul R. Fridley, pilot. And, from bottom left: Naval Air Crewman (Helicopter) 2nd Class James P. Buriak and Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Bailey J. Tucker. (Navy)

They were Lt. Bradley A. Foster, 29, a pilot from Oakhurst, California; Lt. Paul R. Fridley, 28, a pilot from Annandale, Virginia; Naval Air Crewman (Helicopter) 2nd Class James P. Buriak, 31, from Salem, Virginia; Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Sarah F. Burns, 31, from Severna Park, Maryland; and Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Bailey J. Tucker, 21, from St. Louis, Missouri.

The Navy said the investigation of the crash is continuing.

The Salem community is mourning the loss of one of its own. Air Crewman 2nd Class Jim Buriak was one of the five Navy Sailors killed in a helicopter crash last week.