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Naval Academy graduate killed in Red Sea helicopter crash

A Naval Academy graduate was among the two sailors who died Sunday when their helicopter crashed in the Red Sea.

Lt. Cmdr. Landon L. Jones, 35, of Lompoc, Calif., graduated from Annapolis with merit in 2001, a spokeswoman said.

Jones and Chief Warrant Officer Jonathon S. Gibson, 32, of Aurora, Ore., died when their MH-605 Knighthawk helicopter crashed in the central Red Sea while operating with the guided-missile destroyer U.S.S. William P. Lawrence, officials said.

The crash "was not due to any sort of hostile activity," officials said.

Three others on board the helicopter were "accounted for and stable" after the crash, officials said. Several ships and aircraft joined in the search for Jones and Gibson.

Jones was a company squad leader in the 2nd Company at Annapolis, academy spokeswoman Jenny Erickson said. He played ice hockey and slow-pitch softball and lifted weights.

Jones and Gibson were assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Six at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego.

matthew.brown@baltsun.com

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