Spain's defense minister says the cabin of a military helicopter that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean has been found but it has no news on the fate of the missing 3 crew members.

Work on heisting the cabin to the surface was expected to begin Thursday, depending on weather conditions.

A ministry statement Wednesday said an investigative judge monitoring the search operations reported that it was not yet known if the crew members were inside the cabin.

The helicopter ditched Thursday about 280 nautical miles (320 miles, 520 kilometers) from its destination on the Spanish island of Gran Canaria, having set off from Mauritania.

Initially, the ministry wrongly reported that the crew had been rescued.