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Official: 11 missing in army helicopter crash off Florida coast presumed dead

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Posted at 8:55 AM, Mar 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-12 14:46:52-04

Eleven servicemen are missing Wednesday following an Army helicopter crash in Florida Tuesday night, according to officials.

Seven Marines and four soldiers were aboard one of two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters participating in a routine training mission which went down off the coast. Two bodies have been recovered so far.

According to a Pentagon official who spoke anonymously to the Associated Press, nearly 12 hours after the craft was reported missing, all 11 service members are presumed dead.

Eglin Air Force Base spokesman Andy Bourland told NBC News that some human remains have been found. He said he did not have further details on the identities or number.

The helicopter was reported missing at around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, and debris from the crash was found at about 2 a.m. Wednesday on a beach between Pensacola and Destin. 

A search and rescue operation is ongoing — though poor visibility and fog are hampering efforts. It was too soon to say what caused the crash, but there were "weather issues" overnight, according to Bourland.

The missing Marines were from a special operations regiment out of Camp LeJeune in North Carolina. The helicopters and air crew were assigned to the Army National Guard unit out of Hammond, Louisiana.

Names of the aircrew and Marines on board the aircraft have been withheld pending notification of their families.