SAN DIEGO, CA – Five U.S. Marines perished in a tragic helicopter crash during a routine training mission from Nevada to California. The authorities confirmed the heartbreaking news on Thursday morning.
The Marines, who were executing a training exercise in a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter, had departed from Creech Air Force Base, Clark County, Nevada. At the time of their departure, they were on their way to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, California.
The last known location of the helicopter was recorded at approximately 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, and the vessel was officially reported overdue around 1.30 a.m. Wednesday.
Following the distress signal, a search operation was launched which was hampered by unfavorable weather conditions. The helicopter was eventually located in the rugged terrain east of San Diego at around 9 a.m. Wednesday.
The five Marines served in the Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, as per the Marine Corps. However, their identities have not been disclosed, adhering to the military policy of waiting for 24 hours to pass after notifying the next of kin.
The news of the tragic incident was met with widespread grief. The commanding general of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Maj. Gen. Michael J. Borgschulte expressed profound sadness over the incident.
In a Thursday morning statement, President Joe Biden extended his deepest sympathies to the bereaved families, the squadron, and the U.S. Marine Corps. As of now, the recovery of the Marines’ bodies and the helicopter equipment is underway, and the crash is being investigated.