2 Navy men with Valley ties reported in Virginia helicopter crash

FresnoJanuary 9, 2014 

Two of the Navy airmen involved in the fatal helicopter crash off the coast of Virginia are from the central San Joaquin Valley, according to family and friends.

Five people were aboard the helicopter when it crashed off the Virginia Beach coast on Wednesday morning, according to the U.S. Navy. Two crew members were killed, and two others were rescued and one remains missing.

Late Thursday, the Navy identified the missing man as Lt. Sean Christopher Snyder, 39, from Santee, northeast of San Diego. Friends said Snyder attended schools in the Fresno area before entering the Navy.

The Navy has not released the names of the injured crew members, but friends identified one of the airmen as Dylan Boone, a graduate of Sierra High School in Tollhouse.

Boone's mother, Gail Boone, said on her Facebook page that she was flying back to Norfolk, Va., to be with her son, who had surgery to stitch up the cuts and lacerations on his head.

Of the two survivors, one was released from the hospital Thursday, and the other could be released as soon as today, said Capt. Todd Flannery, the commander of Helicopter Sea Combat Wing Atlantic at a press conference Thursday.

The Navy said in a statement Thursday that Snyder's wife asked that his name be released sooner than planned because it was already appearing in media reports.

The search for Snyder, the only person missing after Wednesday's crash, was called off Thursday after the Coast Guard searched a 500-square-mile area by air and sea for 30 hours.

The Navy's statement calls Snyder a decorated pilot, a man of honor and a dedicated husband and father.

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