MADRID (AP) — A Spanish military helicopter heading from Mauritania to the Canary Islands crashed in the Atlantic Ocean Thursday and a search was underway to find the three crew members aboard, Spain's Defense Ministry said.
The helicopter went down about 280 nautical miles (519 miles) from its destination on the island of Gran Canaria, the ministry said in a statement.
A Moroccan rescue helicopter sent to the scene spotted the helicopter floating and a life raft and saw flares fired, but officials were still trying late Thursday to determine whether the crew members were on the raft.
The accident happened Thursday afternoon after the helicopter refueled in Mauritania following two weeks of military exercises in Senegal.
The ministry didn't say what might have caused the helicopter to go down.
This story has been corrected to show that the distance the helicopter crashed from the Canary Islands was in nautical miles, not statute miles.