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DNA confirms 3 of 5 soldiers dead in military crash

Updated: 
August 28, 2017 - 12:05am

HONOLULU — Using DNA evidence, military officials have declared three soldiers dead after their Black Hawk helicopter crashed off Oahu during a nighttime training mission earlier this month.

The Armed Forces Medical Examiner declared 1st Lt. Kathryn M. Bailey of Hope Mills, North Carolina, Staff Sgt. Abigail R. Milam of Jenkins, Kentucky and Sgt. Michael L. Nelson of Antioch, Tennessee dead after confirming their DNA matched organic matter found among debris recovered from the Aug. 15 crash. The three were riding in the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter with two others when it crashed off of Kaena Point in Oahu.

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Stephen Cantrell of Wichita Falls, Texas and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Brian Woeber of Decatur, Alabama have not been found. They remain listed as duty status —whereabouts unknown.

Search-and-rescue operations for the group were suspended Aug. 21.

The U.S. Navy, the U.S. Coast Guard and the 25th Infantry Division are working on recovery and salvage operations. Officials have not dedicated when those operations would be completed and are warning people that to stay away from debris which may be floating in the ocean or washed ashore, since it is considered hazardous.

The crash is still under investigation.

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