Search and rescue officials have located a U.S. Military helicopter that went missing on Tuesday while carrying five Marines during a routine training exercise in southern California.
“The U.S. Marine Corps is searching for five U.S. Marines assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361 Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing,” the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing said in a statement. “The Marines were flying a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter during a routine training flight from Creech Air Force Base to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar on Feb. 6. 2024, when the aircraft was reported overdue.”
The Marines said that the helicopter was found Wednesday morning by civil authorities in Pine Valley, California.
“The 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing is managing search and rescue efforts through the Wing Operations Command Center and using ground and aviation assets to locate the aircrew in coordination with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and multiple federal, state and local agencies,” the statement added.
.@CALFIRESANDIEGO firefighters are assisting with search efforts for a military helicopter reported missing in the area north of Interstate 8 & Kitchen Creek Road, located southeast of Pine Valley. Multiple agencies are searching the area covered in snow making it hard to access. pic.twitter.com/Y3oxNz75Pg
— CAL FIRE/San Diego County Fire (@CALFIRESANDIEGO) February 7, 2024
Fox Weather reported that there was “heavy precipitation in the area where officials received the last ping of the missing helicopter at 5,300 feet” and that there was “anywhere from 6 to 10 inches of snow accumulation, with even more on the way.”
The weather report noted that the mountain area where the helicopter went missing can have “severe” snow conditions that make it difficult for rescue crews to respond to incidents.
Last month, a U.S. Navy helicopter carrying six crewmembers crashed into San Diego Bay during a training exercise.
All six crewmembers, who were operating an MH-60R Seahawk helicopter, survived and were rescued off the coast of Coronado by a nearby Navy vessel shortly after the crash.
“Due to the nature of the training, a safety boat was on location,” a statement from Cmdr. Beth Teach of the Naval Air Force Pacific Fleet said. The crew members went through medical evaluation but none of them appeared to suffer any life-threatening injuries, according to the Navy.