By Kelli Dugan
Mobile, Alabama (Reuters) - The body of the final missing crewman from a helicopter crash that killed four U.S. Coast Guard members off the Alabama coast late last month has been recovered, officials said Thursday. The body of Petty Officer 3rd Class Andrew Knight, of Thomasville, Alabama, was recovered by response personnel late Thursday afternoon.
"This has been a long, tasking week for all involved as we pushed forward and put in countless hours to find our fallen Guardians and bring them back home," said Capt. Kenneth Ivery, deputy commander of Coast Guard Sector Mobile.
The four-man aircraft crashed into Alabama's Mobile Bay during a training exercise on February 28. Chief Petty Officer Fernando Jorge, the crew's rescue swimmer, was found unresponsive shortly after the crash and pronounced dead that same night.
Two days later, Coast Guard officials located the bodies of Lt. Cmdr. Dale Taylor and Lt. j.g. Thomas Cameron, the pilot and co-pilot, about 100 yards from the site where the helicopter fuselage was dislodged and removed from the bay's muddy bottom earlier in the day. Knight's body was found about two-and-a-half miles southwest of the crash site. The Thomasville native was the crew's flight mechanic.
The flight originated from the Coast Guard Aviation Training Center in Mobile and crashed into Mobile Bay about 3 miles southwest of Point Clear just after 8:30 p.m. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
(Editing by Dan Burns)