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Wreckage of helicopter and bodies of two men found in the sea off San Pedro

Witnesses see chopper go down in San Pedro. Operator Confirms a helicopter is missing

1/5/17: Two bodies were pulled from the wreckage of a helicopter that crashed off the coast of San Pedro, according to officials.

The bodies were presumed to be that of photographer Michael Justice and pilot Christopher Reed, authorities said during a Thursday afternoon press conference.

1/4/2017: The US Coast Guard and others are responding to reports of a helicopter down in the ocean off San Pedro.

So far no wreckage or victims have been spotted in the water. Angels Gate has been closed in both directions, as rescuers search a one square mile area.

Officials say two passengers on a cruise ship reported seeing a helicopter fall into the water just inside the breakwater. JJ Helicopters in San Pedro confirms that one of their Robinson helicopters, an R-22 that seats 2 people, is in fact missing. The same company lost a similar craft in 2008.

"There was an aircraft that departed from Torrance about 4:45 p.m. related to JJ Helicopters and that aircraft has not returned," Tom Gazsi of the LA Port Police said at a news conference.

The aircraft is described as a Robinson R22, a two-bladed, single-engine light utility helicopter manufactured by Robinson Helicopter Company. The two-seat R22 was designed in 1973 by Frank Robinson and has been in production since 1979. Investigators said they believe a pilot and passenger were on board.

The 3 square mile search area was expanded Thursday morning to include San Pedro harbor area from Cabrillo Beach to LA Lighthouse. The search continued through the night, Commander Romulus Matthews with the Coast Guard said.

Search crews have night-vision goggles and infrared sensors to aid them as they look for wreckage, floating personal belongings or oil on the surface, he said. They will continue to search at least as long as their models say there is a chance of survival of anyone who may be in the water. Based on current water temperatures, that would mean about 19 or 20 hours after the 5:45 pm crash, Matthews said.

No aircraft, victims or debris have been found, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Search Continues for Helicopter Reported Missing Near Port of Los Angeles | NBC Bay Area

"Fire Crews #Search Waters Off #SanPedro In Response To Reports Of #Helicopter Down," tweeted KNX 1070.


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