A U.S. Marine born in Ireland was one of the 11 service members killed in an army helicopter crash off Florida’s Gulf Coast on Tuesday night.

Liam Flynn, from Clane in Co Kildare, was one of seven marines and four army soldiers aboard the Black Hawk helicopter that crashed into the the Santa Rosa Sound along the Florida Panhandle during a training exercise in foggy conditions. The service members were part of a special operations unit from Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. 

Flynn 33, was a member of the U.S. military for 12 years and served in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Irish Independent reports. He is survived by his wife Destiny, his one-year-old daughter Laliane, his parents Billy and Ann Flynn, and his six sisters and three brothers.

Fr Paul O’Boyle, a local priest, said the young man had visited Ireland four years ago.

“He was a very talented young man at all sports, particularly football and hurling.”

“He was absolutely very happy in his life and his work, and he loved what he was doing. He was very committed to it.”

Fr O'Boyle said people in the local community have reached out to comfort the Flynn family.

“His family are very well respected and well known in the Clane area. It’s a great shock to the wider area. The local community have been a great support to the family over the last few days.”

“The family are lovely people. They’re trying to come to terms with it. It’s a very difficult tragedy,” he said.

A memorial mass will take place in the Clane parish church at 11.30am on Sunday; his funeral will be held in the United States at a later date.

Staff Sgt. Liam FlynnUS Marine Corps