DoD says a Special Operations soldier is missing near Yemen

Staff Sgt. Emil Rivera-Lopez (Source: Rivera-Lopez family)

A US Army soldier identified as Staff Sergeant Emil Rivera-Lopez has been listed as Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown following a helicopter crash off the coast of Yemen on August 25.

Riviera-Lopez was aboard a 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment MH-60 conducting hoist training when the aircraft lost power and plunged into the sea. Rolling over as it crashed, five of the six service members aboard were ejected and quickly recovered. Riviera-Lopez, however, remains missing.

The crash occurred around 7 p.m. local time about 20 miles off Yemen’s southern coast.  At the time of the crash, the 160th were assisting a Special Operations Task Force in the area.

The unit recently distinguished itself during a January 29 raid in Yemen when its helicopters flew repeatedly into heavy enemy fire to support U.S. Navy SEALs pinned down on the ground. The raid resulted in the death of the SEAL Senior Chief Petty Officer Ryan Owens, reported the Washington Post.

According to WASV, Riviera-Lopez is from Arizona but was stationed at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia.

The US Central Command Public Affairs Office could not be reached for comment.

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