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. He was a member of Coal City Boy Scout Troop 466 and achieved Eagle Scout status.
"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 may 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 Marines were searching for Hancock.
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.
• Herald-News reporter Bill Wimbiscus contributed to this report.