In a recent update, authorities have located a U.S. military helicopter carrying five U.S. Marines that went missing on a flight from Nevada to California on Tuesday. While the helicopter has been found, the search for the aircrew is still ongoing, according to the U.S. Marine Corps.
The missing Marines are assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, as stated by Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.
The CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter they were flying was reported overdue when it failed to arrive at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar on February 6, 2024. The aircraft was located by civil authorities in Pine Valley, California, on February 7, 2024, at 9:08 a.m. PST.
The search and rescue efforts are being managed by the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing through the Wings Operations Command Center. Ground and aviation assets are being utilized in coordination with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and multiple federal, state, and local agencies.
The Marines are in contact with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Office to coordinate search efforts. Due to heavy snow near Pine Valley, first responders have requested additional resources to assist with the search effort.
The San Diego County Fire Department has been actively involved in the search since early Wednesday morning. However, the initial attempt to send a helicopter was canceled due to the severe storm conditions caused by the “atmospheric river” storm hitting the area.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated on Wednesday that President Biden has been briefed on the situation. The National Security Council spokesman, John Kirby, mentioned that the White House is closely monitoring the developments. Kirby expressed the hope for the best outcome and assured reporters that the situation is being closely watched.
This incident comes just two months after a tragic U.S. Air Force Osprey crash off the coast of Japan in December, resulting in the loss of all eight crew members aboard. Additionally, in August 2023, another Osprey crashed with over 20 Marines on board, resulting in the death of three service members and injuring approximately 20 others.
The search for the missing aircrew continues, and updates will be provided as soon as new information becomes available.
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