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Oakhurst native among 5 killed in Navy helicopter crash

Posted at 7:47 AM, Sep 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-06 10:47:34-04

(KERO) — Family and friends are mourning the loss of a Central Valley sailor who was one of five members of the U.S. Navy killed following a helicopter crash off the San Diego coast.

Last week a navy helicopter crashed while conducting a routine flight operation.

One person was recovered right after the crash.

Five others were missing for days before the navy declared them dead on Sunday.

Among those killed was 29-year-old Navy pilot Lieutenant Bradley Foster from the small community of Oakhurst in Fresno County.

Friends who grew up with foster are sharing their memories of him.

"When you think about brad and you think of memories you have of him you can't help but remember that smile and that warmth," said Peter Rice, a friend of Bradley Foster.

"You can ask anybody who he went to high school with just the sweetest guy on planet earth. Just so awesome."

The community of Oakhurst is made up of just about 3,400 people.

Foster told friends he planned on enlisting back in 2015.

"We were all so amazed and proud of him when he joined the service," said Rice.

"He wanted to serve the country. It's just an absolute hero and a great American and a great patriot."

Along with Foster, the navy identified the four others who died in the crash:

28-year-old Paul Fridley and 31-year-old James Buriak both from Virginia...

31 year-old Sarah Burns from Maryland and Bailey Tucker from Missouri.

An investigation is still underway to determine what caused the crash.

The navy says it is planning a memorial to honor the fallen.