US Navy rescues 2 civilians from downed aircraft in Caribbean

A U.S. Navy helicopter rescued two civilians whose plane crashed off Dominica.

— -- A U.S. Navy helicopter on Thursday rescued two civilians whose private aircraft crashed into the Caribbean Sea off Dominica.

The two civilian passengers aboard the aircraft are being treated aboard the USS Wasp, the Navy amphibious assault ship that is assisting with relief efforts off the island battered by Hurricane Maria.

"Today, USS Wasp was contacted by French Coast Guard today via bridge-to-bridge radio that a blue and white civilian Cessna with two persons on board was reported to be going down in the Caribbean," said Commander Mike Kafka, a spokesman for Fleet Forces Command.

The Cessna had crashed at approximately 1:30 pm off the coast of Dominica. A MH-60S helicopter from the Wasp located the two male passengers aboard the Cessna four hours later after a 45-minute search.

The two survivors, both males in their early fifties, are from French Guadeloupe and Antiqua.

They were taken to the USS Wasp where they are being treated by the ship's medical department.

"They are both in good condition," said Kafka. He described the two men as being "mostly dehydrated."

The amphibious assault ship is part of Joint Task Force - Leewards Islands, the U.S. military effort to assist Dominica a week after Hurricane Maria destroyed much of the island's dwellings.