Military accident

Cockpit of missing Spanish military helicopter found by search teams

Defense Minister has called families of three crew members to inform them of the findings

A group of Spanish Navy divers taking part in the search operation.Defense Ministry

Teams searching for the Spanish Air Force helicopter that went missing over the Atlantic Ocean last week have located the cockpit, the government delegation in the Canary Islands announced on Wednesday afternoon.

Defense Minister Pedro Morenés has called the families of the three crew members to inform them of the latest developments.

Sharpshooters had been sent to the area to protect deep-sea divers from the sharks

Morenés had already met with the relatives of Captain José Morales Rodríguez, Lieutenant Saúl López Quesada and Sergeant Jhonander Ojeda Alemán on Wednesday morning, but will be seeing them again at the air base in Gando (Gran Canaria), the news agency Efe reported.

Sources quoted by the agency declined to provide any further details until the minister speaks with the families first.

Sharpshooters had been sent on Wednesday to assist the divers due to the high number of sharks in the waters off the coast of Western Sahara, in northern Africa. The minesweepers Segura and Tura had also been deployed to the area to search the bottom of the ocean.

More information

The Maritime Search and Rescue AS332 Super Puma helicopter went down last Thursday approximately 74 kilometers off the coast after it lost contact with air traffic control.

The crew from the Air Force’s 802 Squadron were flying from Nouadhibou, Mauritania to Gran Canaria, where they are based.

Earlier this week, Defense Minister Pedro Morenés said that the government wasn’t ruling out any theories about the fate of the three crew members, after the father of one of the men said he believed they might have been kidnapped.

English version by Martin Delfín.