Navy Divers Find Missing Pilot's Remains

Photo provided by U.S. Navy
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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - Navy divers searching for the wreckage and missing pilot of the MH-53E crash off the coast of Virginia Beach last week have recovered the remains of Lt. Sean Christopher Snyder.

Divers from Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2 found the helicopter's cockpit late Monday evening using a remotely operated vehicle, but salvage operations were suspended due to deteriorating weather conditions. Recovery efforts began again Tuesday, and the remains were found in the wreckage, according to a U.S. Fleet Forces Command press release.

The Snyder family released the following statement through the Navy Tuesday:

"Divers have recovered the remains of Lt. Sean Snyder. The family is truly thankful to the men and women of the United States Navy. Sean was a man of honor and a true hero, not only to his country, but also to his wife, children, family, and friends. Our strength and trust remain in Christ."

Snyder, 39, was one of five crewmen aboard the MH-53E Sea Dragon when it crashed about 18 nautical miles off the coast of Cape Henry while conducting routine mine countermeasure training.

Two Sailors died at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital from their injuries and two others were treated and released.

The cause of the crash is still being investigated.

A memorial service for the three crewmembers killed in the crash is being planned for Friday at Naval Station Norfolk.