The Navy on Friday declared dead a Marine who went missing after a helicopter accident, marking the first death in the U.S. military campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Cpl. Jordan L. Spears, 21, “went into the water” in the Persian Gulf after his Osprey aircraft apparently lost power just after takeoff from the USS Makin Island.
Another crewmember went into the water with Spears, but he was rescued and is in stable condition as of Friday afternoon.
It was unclear if the two fell out of the helicopter or bailed out as the aircraft started to go down. There will be an investigation into the incident.
The Navy has not specified the group’s mission in the Mideast, saying only that the USS Makin Island is “supporting operations in Iraq and Syria, and throughout the region.”
"Some of those operations included operations in Iraq and Syria, at least tangentially," Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, told reporters on Friday.
"So there's no question that this Marine's death is related to the operations that are going on in some form or fashion."
The U.S. and allies have launched hundreds of airstrikes since August in Iraq and Syria to destroy ISIS.