Page last updated at 14:53 GMT, Friday, 30 October 2009

Nine missing after US air crash

AH-1 Super Cobra
An AH-1 Super Cobra, similar to this, was involved in the crash (file pic)

A search is under way for nine people missing after a US Coast Guard plane and a military helicopter crashed off the coast of southern California.

The collision is believed to have happened 16 miles (27km) east of the US Navy-owned San Clemente Island.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) spokesman said a pilot reported seeing a fireball near the area.

The Marine Corps said the helicopter was an AH-1 Super Cobra attack aircraft and the plane was a C-130.

Coast Guard spokeswoman Allyson Conroy said the crash happened on Thursday at about 1910 local time (0210 GMT, Friday).

'Survival training'

Cpl Michael Stevens, a spokesman for the Miramar Marine Corps Air Station, said the helicopter and its crew belonged to Marine Aircraft Group 39, stationed at Camp Pendleton and 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, based at Miramar.

The plane and its crew belong to Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento.

A number of helicopters and navy vessels are being used in the search.


FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said the coast guard had reported seeing debris from a C-130.

Petty Officer Henry Dunphy said that the plane contained survival gear.

He said: "We're hoping to find survivors. We're not ruling that out."

San Clemente Island, which is owned by the US Navy and is used for training purposes, is 68 nautical miles west of San Diego.

Meanwhile the Coast Guard resumed a separate search for two Navy pilots whose plane had gone missing along the central Texas coast.

Contact was lost with the single-engine Navy T-34 training plane on Wednesday.

Its last known location was close to San Jose Island, two miles (3.2km) off the Gulf of Mexico.

The search was postponed on Thursday because of stormy weather.

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