Missing U.S. military helicopter found in Southern California; search continues for 5 Marines who were on board

Update: The Marine Corps said Thursday that the five marines died when his helicopter crashed.

An us military helicopter who disappeared while transporting five Marines from Nevada to California has been found, authorities said Wednesday. Search and rescue teams searched for the Marines as snow and rain fell on the mountainous area where the helicopter was located in Southern California, the marine corps saying.

The CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter was found east of San Diego in Pine Valley, California, at 9:08 a.m., several hours after authorities began search efforts, the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing said on social media. Federal agencies, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and the Civil Air Patrol participated in the search.

The helicopter was flying from Creech Air Force Base in Clark County, Nevada, to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego on Tuesday when it was reported delayed, marine corps saying.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to New York City that President Biden had been briefed on the search efforts.

The last known location of the helicopter was reported around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday. The sheriff’s department received a call shortly after 1 a.m. that the helicopter was delayed in Miramar, a spokesperson told CBS News.

A CH-53E Super Stallion aircraft secures the area around the USS Boxer in the Arabian Sea off Oman, July 17, 2019.
A CH-53E Super Stallion aircraft secures the area around the USS Boxer in the Arabian Sea off Oman, July 17, 2019.

Reuters/Ahmed Jadallah

Firefighters were initially dispatched to the helicopter’s last known location around the Cleveland National Forest, a spokesperson for the San Diego office of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection told CBS News. The area had rugged terrain and a lot of snow fellsaid the spokesperson. Nothing was found at the scene.

Cal Fire asked the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Border Patrol to help with the search effort. The forest is located near the border between the United States and Mexico.

A sheriff’s department spokesperson told CBS News that heavy cloud cover early Wednesday morning prevented the agency from deploying its helicopter to contribute to the search effort.

Rain, snow showers and fog were forecast for the area, with 1 to 3 inches of snow during the day in some parts, according to the San Diego office of the National Weather Service. By Wednesday night, snow accumulation was forecast to be 4 to 6 inches in some areas.

The five missing Marines were assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, the Marine Corps said.

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