The Maritime Self-Defense Force has sent an ocean observation ship to trawl the seafloor for the remains of two MSDF helicopters thought to have collided over waters hundreds of kilometers south of Tokyo as officials worked Tuesday to narrow down the cause of the deadly crash.

The crash, which occurred late Saturday during nighttime antisubmarine drills east of Torishima in the Izu Islands, left the two SH-60K patrol choppers’ total crew of eight feared dead as rescue operations involving some 10 ships and five aircraft continued.

According to officials, the Yokosuka-based Shonan ocean observation ship is expected to arrive at the suspected crash site in about a day or two, at the earliest.