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U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crash kills three

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Helicopter crashed near James Island off La Push, Washington
  • One survivor hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries
  • Helicopter is in water, power lines it hit are down at beach

(CNN) -- Three crew members were killed and one was injured Wednesday when a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crashed in waters near James Island in LaPush, Washington, officials said.

The surviving crew member is hospitalized in Seattle with non-life threatening injuries, said Coast Guard Rear Adm. Gary Blore.

The helicopter, a MH-60 Jayhawk, was flying to Sitka, Alaska, after departing the Coast Guard Air Station in Astoria, Oregon.

"The Coast Guard lost communication with the helicopter around 9:30 a.m. PT (12:30 p.m. ET)," said Blore. "Rescue crews were launched shortly after that."

Video: Helicopter crash kills three

The survivor was pulled from the water by a good samaritan and transferred to a medical facility, said the Coast Guard. The recovery phase for those killed is continuing, said Blore.

"The helicopter is in the water, inverted," he said. "There are power lines down at the beach."

The Federal Aviation Administration has issued a flight restriction in the area near the crash to allow response crews to search without distractions, said the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard will conduct an investigation to determine the cause of the accident, said Blore.

With his voice cracking at times, Blore told reporters at a media briefing Wednesday afternoon that accidents such as this are deeply personal to members of the Coast Guard.

"We all have flown helicopters, we have flown the same machine. This hits close to home," he said.

CNN's Patrick Oppmann contributed to this report.