Coroner confirms body of Marine found 3 miles from search site

Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Body of Marine found in wooded area
The search ended just before 6 p.m. Monday in a wooded area along U.S. Highway 701 north of White Lake, near a blueberry field.

BLADEN COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- The 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Marine who fell from an MV-22B Osprey tilt rotor aircraft Monday was found dead late Tuesday afternoon.

ThE search ended just before 6 p.m. in a wooded area along U.S. Highway 701 north of White Lake, near a blueberry field.

The Bladen County coroner said the Marine's body was found about a half a mile into the woods.

At this point, officials say it appears that he died as a result of the fall.

The Marine, whose identity is not being released at this time, was a crew member of the Osprey, which was conducting a training flight when he fell.

A statement from MCAS Cherry Point and 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Deputy Director of Public Affairs Mike Barton said the incident was under investigation.

The statement also asked that everyone keeps the Marine's family, and all those affected by this tragedy, in their thoughts and prayers.

"We deeply mourn the loss of a member of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing family today. I'd like to extend my sincerest condolences to the family and loved ones of our Marine," said Maj. Gen. Robert Hedelund, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing commanding general. "I also want to extend my thanks to the community for their tireless efforts throughout this search. Without your cooperation, we could not have brought closure to this phase of such an unfortunate incident."

Search parties spent Tuesday looking in a remote area of Bladen and Sampson counties, about 45 minutes west of New River Air Station, where the Osprey is based. The flight track was recorded, and that helped to develop maps to narrow the search area, which covered several miles.

Crews set up a base in Bladen County, between White Lake and Bay Tree Lake as part of their efforts.

Aircraft from both Marine Corp bases Cherry Point and New River were involved in the search. Around 2:30 p.m., a Marine aircraft spotted the Marine's body about five miles north of White Lake.

Hundreds of additional Marines from Cherry Point joined Bladen County Emergency Services. Landowners and their employees aided in the ground search, and area residents offered ATVs to the Marines.

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