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5 Marines confirmed dead in California helicopter crash

Feb 8

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Five Marines are confirmed dead after their helicopter went down in the mountains of Southern California Tuesday night, Feb. 6. Authorities said the Marines were conducting a routine training flight.

The CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter departed from Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, but failed to make it to the Marine Corps Air Station in Miramar, California. The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said it received a call around 1 a.m. on Wednesday that reported the helicopter as missing.

The 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing along with the San Diego Sheriff’s Department and Civil Air Patrol launched a search-and-rescue effort. Due to rainy and snowy conditions, searchers used jeeps and drones to sweep the difficult terrain.

The aircraft was found just after 9 a.m. on Wednesday in Pine Valley, a mountainous area that is roughly 30 miles east of San Diego.

At the time of the crash, the area was under a winter storm warning for elevations 4,000 feet and above, according to The Weather Channel.

The Department of Defense is investigating the crash. The names of the Marines will not be released until 24 hours after next-of-kin has been notified.

President Biden said he and first lady Jill Biden are “heartbroken” over the loss.

“Our service members represent the very best of our nation — and these five Marines were no exception,” Biden said in a statement. “Today, as we mourn this profound loss, we honor their selfless service and ultimate sacrifice — and reaffirm the sacred obligation we bear to all those who wear the uniform and their families.”

This crash comes nearly two months after a U.S. Air Force Osprey helicopter crashed off the coast of Japan in December. All eight crew members on board died.

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[LAUREN TAYLOR]
FIVE MARINES ARE CONFIRMED DEAD –
AFTER THEIR HELICOPTER WENT DOWN IN MOUNTAINS IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA TUESDAY NIGHT, THE MARINE CORPS SAID THURSDAY MORNING.

THE MARINES WERE CONDUCTING A ROUTINE TRAINING FLIGHT – ACCORDING TO AUTHORITIES.
THE CH-53E SUPER STALLION HELICOPTER TOOK OFF FROM CREECH AIR FORCE BASE IN NEVADA – AND FAILED TO MAKE IT TO THE MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IN MIRAMAR, CALIFORNIA.

THE HELICOPTER WAS REPORTED OVERDUE. THE SAN DIEGO COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT SAID IT RECEIVED A CALL AROUND 1 A-M WEDNESDAY REPORTING THE HELICOPTER AS “MISSING.”

THE 3RD MARINE AIRCRAFT WING – ALONG WITH THE SAN DIEGO SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT AND CIVIL AIR PATROL LAUNCHED A SEARCH AND RESCUE EFFORT – HOWEVER, BECAUSE OF RAINY AND SNOWY CONDITIONS – THEY USED JEEPS AND DRONES TO SWEEP THE DIFFICULT TERRAIN.

THEY FOUND THE AIRCRAFT JUST AFTER 9 A-M WEDNESDAY IN PINE VALLEY – A MOUNTAINOUS AREA — ABOUT 30 MILES EAST OF SAN DIEGO.

AT THE TIME OF THE CRASH – THE AREA WAS UNDER A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR ELEVATIONS 4,000 FEET AND ABOVE – ACCORDING TO THE WEATHER CHANNEL.

THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE IS INVESTIGATING THE CRASH.
THE NAMES OF THE MARINES WILL NOT BE RELEASED UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER NEXT-OF-KIN HAS BEEN NOTIFIED.

PRESIDENT BIDEN SAID HE AND FIRST LADY JILL BIDEN ARE HEARTBROKEN OVER THE LOSS.

IN A STATEMENT RELEASED BY THE WHITE HOUSE BIDEN SAID “OUR SERVICE MEMBERS REPRESENT THE VERY BEST OF OUR NATION—AND THESE FIVE MARINES WERE NO EXCEPTION. TODAY, AS WE MOURN THIS PROFOUND LOSS, WE HONOR THEIR SELFLESS SERVICE AND ULTIMATE SACRIFICE—AND REAFFIRM THE SACRED OBLIGATION WE BEAR TO ALL THOSE WHO WEAR THE UNIFORM AND THEIR FAMILIES.”

THIS CRASH COMES NEARLY TWO MONTHS AFTER A U-S AIR FORCE OSPREY HELICOPTER CRASHED OFF THE COAST OF JAPAN IN DECEMBER. ALL 8 CREW MEMBERS ON BOARD DIED.