Victims Identified in Navy Chopper Crash; Search for Missing Man Suspended

Victims IDed as Lt. Wesley Van Dorn, 29, and Petty Officer Third Class Brian Collins, 32

The Navy has identified the two crew members who died in a U.S. Navy helicopter crash off the Virginia coast and suspended its search for another man who never may have never emerged from the wreckage.

The MH-53E Sea Dragon had five people aboard when it crashed about 18 miles off the Virginia Beach coast shortly before 11 a.m. Wednesday.

Four of them were pulled from the water and airlifted to a local hospital, where Lt. Wesley Van Dorn, 29, of Greensboro, N.C., and Petty Officer Third Class Brian Collins, 32, of Truckee, Calif.,

Van Dorn and Collins died of their injuries.

The Navy, the Coast Guard and local fire and rescue crews searched for the fifth person into Wednesday night. 

The water was 41 degrees at the time of the crash, said NBC Washington's Storm Team 4 Meteorologist Veronica Johnson. Hypothermia generally sets in after about 10 to 20 minutes in water that cold.

The wreckage remains submerged. The Navy has identified the missing crew member as Lt. Sean Christopher Snyder of Santee, Ca.

The Navy said Thursday that one survivor has left the hospital, and the other is doing well and could be released Friday.

The helicopter that crashed was based out of at Naval Station Norfolk Chambers Field and had been flying with another MH-53E on a training mission.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Van Dorn returned from deployment overseas shortly before Christmas, his family said.

"Throughout his life Wes was motivated by the example of his grandfather, James H. Scholtz, whom he resembled in appearance, in strong faith and in commitment to serving his country," read a statement from Van Dorn's family. "His deep faith in Christ gave him the strength to serve, the courage to walk without stumbling and be unafraid. In his final moments he calmly thought of and acted for others -- his crew, his loved ones."

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