2 FBI Agents Killed: Hostage Rescue Team Suffers Tragic Training Accident

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(FBI/File)Members of the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team, or HRT, debrief after a training exercise at their headquarters in Quantico, Va.

2 FBI agents have been killed on Friday during a training accident involving a helicopter off the coast of Virginia Beach, according to reports.

The victims were two members of the FBI's ultra-elite Hostage Rescue Team, a spokeswoman for the FBI's Norfolk office, Vanessa Torres, has said.

Torres explained that the accident had taken place on Friday afternoon but omitted to release any further details about the incident.

In a separate statement the FBI said that the two men killed were Special Agent Christopher Lorek and Special Agent Stephen Shaw.

The Norfolk Medical Examiner's office has said that no further information regarding the cause of death of the two men would be released until Monday at the earliest, according to WAVY-TV in Portsmouth, Va.

The FBI Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) is the Federal Bureau of Investigation's counter-terrorism specialized tactical unit. The HRT is trained to rescue American citizens and allies who are held by a hostile force, usually terrorist or criminal. The Hostage Rescue Team was founded in 1982 by Danny Coulson and completed its final certification exercise in October 1983.

The HRT's purpose is to serve as a domestic counter-terrorism unit, offering a tactical resolution option in hostage and high-risk law enforcement situations. It was originally composed of 50 operators; however, this number has since increased to well over 90 full-time operators.

The HRT commonly functions as a national SWAT team in highly sensitive or dangerous situations. Today it is part of the Tactical Support Branch of the FBI's Critical Incident Response Group (CIRG) and is based at the FBI Academy at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia.