Two people dead and one missing after Navy helicopter crash
July 4, 2012 handout image from the US Navy shows an MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter aboard the USS Ponce (AFSB 15) operating in the Arabian Gulf [AFP]

A US Navy helicopter crashed off the coast of Virginia, leaving two crew members dead and another missing, officials said.

Two more members of the crew were rescued and taken to a hospital near the crash in the Virginia Capes. One was listed in serious condition, while the other has now been upgraded to fair condition.

The search for a fifth crew member is "continuing," Naval Air Forces Atlantic said in a statement.

The US Navy MH-53E Sea Dragon went down off the coast of Norfolk around 11:30 am (1630 GMT) during routine training, according to officials.

The crew, part of the Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron Fourteen (HM-14) based at Norfolk Naval Station Chambers Field, were flying on a routine mine countermeasure training exercise when the accident took place.

Other Navy helicopters and vessels are assisting a US Coast Guard patrol boat in the search and rescue for the missing crew member.

Virginia Beach Fire Department boats have found the aircraft fuselage and tail section using their side-scan radar.

Officials have launched an investigation to determine the cause of the crash.

The incident came a day after a US Air Force helicopter crashed in eastern Britain, leaving four service members dead.

In an odd coincidence of names, the HH-60G Pave Hawk chopper went down in the English county of Norfolk, while flying low on a training drill on Tuesday.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]