Helicopter crash takes lovable prankster, confident dreamer

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In this Aug. 16, 2017 file photo, water safety officials hand over possible debris from an Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crash to military personnel in a harbor in Haleiwa, Hawaii. Five soldiers were killed after the Army helicopter crashed during a nighttime training missing off Hawaii on Aug. 15. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia, File)

HONOLULU — A lovable prankster. A confident dreamer. An all-around great guy.

These are some of the ways friends and family described the soldiers killed when an Army Black Hawk helicopter disappeared off Hawaii two weeks ago.

On Thursday, the Army declared the final two missing soldiers dead. DNA analysis identified the three others last week.

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The Army lost all five on board when the UH-160 helicopter crashed Aug. 15.

The Coast Guard and other agencies scoured the ocean in the days that followed for the three men and two women. Rescuers turned up pieces of helicopter and helmets over five days of searching.

The search covered a vast expanse of ocean between Oahu, the island where the soldiers lived and trained, and Niihau, Hawaii’s westernmost main island. Currents pushed wreckage far from the crash site.

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