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Coal City Marine missing after training exercise found deceased

Published: Tuesday, May 20, 2014 4:45 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, May 20, 2014 7:25 p.m. CDT
Caption
(Photo courtesy of Jeanne Millsap)
In 2011, Steven Hancock of Coal City became an Eagle Scout with Coal City Troop 466. Hancock later entered the Marines. His family said Tuesday that Steven fell from an aircraft during a training exercise Monday in North Carolina.

7:20 p.m. UPDATE

COAL CITY – A Marine from Coal City was found deceased Tuesday afternoon in North Carolina after apparently falling from an aircraft during a training flight.

The 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Marine who fell from an MV-22B Osprey tilt rotor aircraft was found deceased late Tuesday afternoon, according to a news release sent Tuesday night from the Marines. It appears he died as a result of the fall.

Although the Marines said they could not identify the man until 24 hours after the notification of next of kin, the family of Steven Hancock of Coal City had said earlier Tuesday afternoon that their son was the one who fell out of the aircraft.

Sue Hancock said she was notified Monday night that her son was missing.

"We're waiting for an update from the Marines," she said Tuesday prior to the Marines releasing the statement saying the body of the missing Marine had been found.

"We deeply mourn the loss of a member of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing family today. I'd like to extend my sincerest condolences to the family and loved ones of our Marine," Maj. Gen. Robert Hedelund, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing commanding general, said in the news release. "I also want to extend my thanks to the community for their tireless efforts throughout this search."

Hancock is a 2011 graduate of Coal City High School. According to a previous Morris Daily Herald article from when Hancock achieved Eagle Scout status, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, and was going to enter as an E2 PFC because of his Eagle Scout status. He was a member of Coal City Troop 466.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire family," Superintendent Kent Bugg said after hearing the news. "Our thoughts definitely go out to his sister Mallory, who just graduated this weekend.

"He was a great kid. He was serving his country so that obviously says a lot about him and his character," Bugg continued.

He said the student services staff has been made aware of the community's loss and will have people available for anyone who made need to talk at the school.

The Facebook page for a Steven Hancock from Coal City, who lives in Jacksonville, North Carolina, and lists his work as the United Stated Marine Corps, was filled Tuesday with well-wishes from loved ones.

“Hang in there Steven, your men will find you. Stay strong cousin. You are a true warrior. We all love you and are praying for you,” read a post from a woman who identified herself as a cousin, when Hancock was still being searched for.

Andrew Mocarski, whose Facebook page identifies him as a Marine stationed in Jacksonville, North Carolina, read “Praying for you brother Steven Hancock.”

The aircraft was conducting a training flight Monday evening when the Marine disappeared about 45 miles west of Marine Corps Air Station New River, the Associated Press reported.

• Shaw Media reporter Bill Wimbiscus contributed to this report.

6:10 P.M. UPDATE

The 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Marine who fell from an MV-22B Osprey tilt rotor aircraft yesterday was found deceased late this afternoon. At this point, it appears he died as a result of the fall, according to a news release from the Marines.

The Marine was a crewmember of an aircraft that was conducting a training flight at the time of the mishap. Although the Marines said they could not identify the Marine until 24 hours after the notification of next of kin, the family of Steven Hancock of Coal City confirmed Tuesday that their son was the one who fell out of the aircraft.

"While the details surrounding the incident are under investigation, we ask that everyone keeps this Marine's family, and all those affected by this tragedy, in their thoughts and prayers," the news release continues. "This sad news affects us all -- his family, his extended Marine family, and the community who provided selfless support during this tragic event.

"We deeply mourn the loss of a member of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing family today. I'd like to extend my sincerest condolences to the family and loved ones of our Marine," Maj. Gen. Robert Hedelund, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing commanding general, said in the news release. "I also want to extend my thanks to the community for their tireless efforts throughout this search. Without your cooperation, we could not have brought closure to this phase of such an unfortunate incident."

Those participating in the search efforts include 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing helicopters and Ospreys based at MCAS New River; and search and rescue helicopters from Marine Transport Squadron 1 out of MCAS Cherry Point. Local civilian fire and rescue units include: Bladen County Sheriff and Emergency Medical Service personnel, White Lakes Police and Fire Departments, Bay Tree Lakes Fire Department, North Carolina Highway Patrol, North Carolina Forest Service and State Parks personnel.

ORIGINAL POST

COAL CITY – A Coal City mother said her son was the Marine who fell out of an aircraft late Monday in North Carolina during a training flight.

Steven Hancock, son of Sue and Mike Hancock of Coal City, reportedly fell from an Osprey aircraft during a training flight west of Marine Corps Air Station New River.

Sue Hancock said she was notified that her son was missing Monday night.

"We're waiting for an update from the Marines," she said Tuesday.

A spokesman with the U.S. Marines Corps Public Affairs office in Cherry Point said he could not confirm the name of the missing Marine until family is notified.

"The search is still ongoing," Master Sgt. Wright told Shaw Media. "The incident occurred at 18:30 yesterday and the search started shortly after. It went on through most of the night, and they started again this morning as soon as they got enough light."

Hanock is a 2011 graduate of Coal City High School.

The Facebook page for a Steven Hancock from Coal City, who lives in Jacksonville, North Carolina, and lists his work as the United Stated Marine Corps, was filled Tuesday with well-wishes from loved ones.

“Hang in there Steven, your men will find you. Stay strong cousin. You are a true warrior. We all love you and are praying for you,” read a post from a woman who identified herself as a cousin.

Andrew Mocarski, whose Facebook page identifies him as a Marine stationed in Jacksonville, North Carolina, read “Praying for your brother Steven Hancock.”

Marine Corps spokesman Michael Barton from Air Station Cherry Point said the search resumed Tuesday, the Associated Press reported Tuesday. AP reported that the missing Marine is a crew chief from the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing and that the Osprey aircraft can take off like a helicopter and fly like an airplane.

The aircraft was conducting a training flight Monday evening when the Marine disappeared about 45 miles west of Marine Corps Air Station New River, the Associated Press reported. Barton told the Associated Press he didn’t know how high Osprey was or the number of crew aboard at the time of the accident.

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