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2 bodies pulled from sunken wreckage of L.A. helicopter crash, authorities say

LOS ANGELES -- Two bodies were pulled Thursday from the sunken wreckage of a helicopter that crashed inside the Port of Los Angeles breakwater, authorities said.

The men were pulled from the fuselage of a Robinson R22 two-seater aircraft that went down Wednesday on a photography flight. Searchers using sonar located the craft in 15- to 20-foot deep water, port spokesman Phillip Sanfield said. 

Although they had not been officially identified, the bodies were believed to be those of a pilot, Christopher Reed, and a photographer, Michael Justice, authorities said. 

Freelance photographer Michael Justice is believed to be the victim in a helicopter crash in the Los Angeles harbor. CBS Los Angeles

Justice had gone out on assignment Thursday afternoon and has been missing since, CBS Los Angeles reports. He was in the helicopter on an assignment to take photographs of three cruise ships.    

Both men were described as experienced and accomplished. Justice had traveled the world on photographic assignments, with subjects that included Mother Teresa.

The small black helicopter took off from the airport in Torrance Wednesday afternoon. At about 5:45 p.m., passengers aboard an outbound cruise ship reported seeing a helicopter plowing towards the water, according to the Coast Guard.

An air-and-sea search was immediately launched but nothing was found until Thursday morning.

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