5 US Marines confirmed dead after helicopter went missing in California

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The five U.S. Marines aboard a helicopter that went missing on a trip from Nevada to California were confirmed dead on Thursday.

First responders found the crashed CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter following hours of searching, but they did not find the crew until Thursday morning.

“It is with a heavy heart and profound sadness that I share the loss of five outstanding Marines from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing and the “Flying Tigers” while conducting a training flight last night,” Maj. Gen. Borgschulte, Commanding General for the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, said in a statement.

“These pilots and crew members were serving a calling greater than self and were proud to do so. We will forever be grateful for their call to duty and selfless service,” he added. “To the families of our fallen Marines, we send our deepest condolences and commit to ensuring your support and care during this incredibly difficult time.”

The U.S. military does not reveal the identities of deceased service members until at least 24 hours after all next-of-kin notifications have been made.

First responders are working to recover the remains of each of the Marines.

The CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter had departed Creech Air Force Base in Nevada en route to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar near San Diego Tuesday night.

Local first responders were first contacted regarding the incident early Wednesday morning. The San Diego Sheriff’s Office attempted to send a helicopter to begin the search immediately, but the aircraft was called off due to the “atmospheric river” storm hitting the area.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed that President Biden had been briefed on the situation.

The incident comes roughly two months after a U.S. Air Force Osprey crashed off the coast of Japan in December. All eight crew members aboard the craft were killed in the incident.

Another Osprey crashed in August 2023 with over 20 Marines aboard. Three service members were killed in that incident and about 20 were injured.

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