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Two crewmen dead after Navy helicopter goes down off Va.; one missing

Two crew members died and another is missing after a U.S. Navy helicopter made an emergency water landing off the coast of Virginia on Wednesday, the Navy said.

The helicopter, a MH-53E Sea Dragon, was carrying five crew members when it went down in the Atlantic Ocean Wednesday morning off the coast of Norfolk. Four crew members had been rescued from the water, the Navy initially said, but two of the four rescued were confirmed as dead later on Wednesday.

A search-and-rescue operation was under way for the fifth crew member. The two surviving rescued crew members were being evaluated at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.

The conditions of the two known survivors were not known. The crew members' identities were not released.

The water temperature was about 40 degrees at the time of the incident, reported NBC Virginia affiliate WAVY.com.

The MH-53E was conducting a routine training mission when it made the emergency water landing about 20 nautical miles east of Virginia Beach, a U.S. Navy official said. It was conducting the training mission in tandem with another MH-53E at the time.

Nearby Coast Guard assets were first to respond when the helicopter went down. U.S. Navy helicopters responded soon after to help with the search and rescue of the missing sailors.

The aircraft is part of the Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron, based at Naval Air Station Norfolk.

The incident comes a day after four American airmen were killed when a U.S. military helicopter carrying live ammunition crashed on the east coast of England.

The MH-53E does not carry any weapons. It performs airborne mine countermeasures and onboard delivery missions, according to the Naval Air Systems Command website.

Initially, the Navy had said the the helicopter was a CH-53E Super Stallion.

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