Five U.S. Marines aboard a helicopter that crashed in the remote terrain outside of San Diego are confirmed dead, the military said.
“Five Marines with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing have been confirmed deceased following a CH-53E helicopter crash on Feb. 6, 2024,” the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing said in a statement.
“It is with a heavy heart and profound sadness that I share the loss of five outstanding Marines from 3d Marine Aircraft Wing and the ‘Flying Tigers’ while conducting a training flight last night,” Maj. Gen. Michael J. Borgschulte, commander of 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, said.
“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,” Borgshulte continued.
“Efforts to recover the remains of the five have begun and an investigation into the crash is underway,” the statement added.
Read the full statement:
BREAKING: 5 Marines aboard helicopter that went down outside San Diego are confirmed dead, military says – AP pic.twitter.com/8q3TgCi5lS
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) February 8, 2024
The five Marines aboard a helicopter that went down in remote, snow-covered woods Tuesday night are dead, a US military spokesperson said Thursday.
The CH-53E helicopter was found near Pine Valley, California, in the Cleveland National Forest. The cause of the crash is under investigation.
The Marines were on a training flight aboard a CH-53E Super Stallion on Tuesday night – flying from Creech Air Force base near Las Vegas to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego – but they eventually were “reported overdue,” a Marine Corps unit said Wednesday.
Civil authorities found the helicopter around 9 a.m. PT Wednesday in Pine Valley, a mountainous area some 30 miles east of the San Diego station, the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing said. The condition of the helicopter was not immediately disclosed.
The CH-53E is a heavy-lift helicopter that can move troops and equipment and carry as much as 16 tons of cargo, according to the US Navy. The Marines who were aboard the craft are assigned to Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, Marine Aircraft Group 16, Marines Capt. Stephanie Leguizamon said.
Winds were gusting up to 20 mph Tuesday evening near Pine Valley, and they likely were stronger at higher elevations. Radar indicates a heavy band of precipitation swept through the area between 10 p.m. Tuesday and 4 a.m. Wednesday, with rain at lower elevations and snow at higher elevations.
Military confirms dead five Marine onboard helicopter that in mountains east of San Diego https://t.co/Wunj1txjm8
— John Solomon (@jsolomonReports) February 8, 2024
BREAKING: 5 Marines aboard helicopter that went down outside San Diego are confirmed dead, military says https://t.co/I84HKu1sM3
— The Associated Press (@AP) February 8, 2024
From the Associated Press:
The military was working with federal, state and local agencies, including the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Border Patrol, San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and the state Civil Air Patrol.
But weather and rugged terrain made the task difficult. Pine Valley is at about 3,700 feet (1,127 meters) in elevation in the Cuyamaca Mountains, an area which saw as much 8 inches (20 centimeters) of accumulating snow within hours Tuesday night and early Wednesday and saw more falling Wednesday night, according to forecasters.
The area includes San Diego County’s second highest mountain, Cuyamaca Peak, at 6,512 feet (1,985 meters), and is also near the Cleveland National Forest, which covers 720 square miles (1,860 square kilometers) with much of it steep, rocky and with limited trails.
This is a Guest Post from our friends over at 100 Percent Fed Up.