Phoenix International Holdings, Inc., (Phoenix), announced the successful recovery of the tail rotor of a US Navy HH-60H helicopter from a water depth of 1820 meters of seawater (msw) using the Navy's Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), Deep Drone.
The helicopter, with a crew of seven, was in transit to the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) when it crashed November 2007. All crewmembers were rescued. A majority of the helicopter, absent the detached tail rotor, was recovered using Deep Drone in a December 2007 search and recovery operation. Subsequent investigation into the cause of the accident led to specific interest in examining the tail rotor.
In early May, Phoenix search and recovery personnel mobilized Deep Drone onboard the USNS Navajo (T-ATF 169) in San Diego, CA. Upon return to the original loss site, a visual search grid was developed and instituted. The tail rotor assembly was quickly found, photographed and video documented. Using its two hydraulically actuated manipulators, Deep Drone grabbed and secured a rotor blade, and recovered the entire assembly to the deck of the USNS Navajo. The assembly was then turned over to Navy authorities in support of their investigation.
Phoenix is prime contractor to the Naval Sea Systems Command Supervisor of Salvage and Diving (SEA 00C) with around-the-clock responsibilities to conduct underwater search and recovery operations to water depths of 6000 msw anywhere in the world.