Home / National News / Remains of Missing Navy Pilot in Va. Helicopter Crash Recovered


(NORFOLK, Va.) — The remains of the U.S. Navy pilot who went missing after a helicopter went down off the coast of Virginia Beach, Va., have been found.

The Navy said in a statement Tuesday night that divers located the cockpit of the MH-53E “Sea Dragon” on Monday and confirmed the presence of remains inside but had to hold off on recovering Lt. Sean Christopher Snyder’s remains until Tuesday because of deteriorating weather conditions.

Snyder, 39, was one of five crew members on board the Navy helicopter when it crashed 20 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach during a routine training mission on Jan. 8.  The four other sailors were rescued but two later died of their injuries.

The Navy has identified the deceased crew members as Lt. J. Wesley Van Dorn, 29, of Greensboro, N.C.; and Naval Aircrewman Brian Andrew Collins, 25, of Truckee, Calif.

The two surviving sailors have since been released from the hospital.

A memorial service is expected to be held on Friday for the three fallen sailors at Naval Station Norfolk.

In a statement, Snyder’s family said they are “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,” the statement continued.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

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