5 missing Marines found dead in California helicopter crash, officials say

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Officials announced on Thursday morning that the bodies of the five Marines who had been reported missing while they were going from Nevada to California on a chopper have been discovered there.

The Marines were reportedly flying a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter from Creech Air Force Base in Clark County, Nevada to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, California, as part of a training exercise, according to officials who made the announcement on Thursday.

In accordance with the Marine Corps, the helicopter was claimed to have reported its last-known location at approximately 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday, and it was reported to be overdue at approximately 1 a.m. on Wednesday morning.

According to the officials, the wreckage of the helicopter was discovered in a mountainous and difficult region to the east of San Diego at approximately nine in the morning on Wednesday. During the time that the area was being battered by rain and snow, search and rescue teams, as well as federal and local officials, were looking for the Marines.

According to the Marine Corps, the five Marines were assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, Marine Aircraft Group 16, which is part of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.

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Their identities have not been disclosed since it is usual practice in the military to wait twenty-four hours after all notifications to next-of-kin have been made before revealing the identities of service members who have passed away while serving.

5 missing Marines found dead in California helicopter
On July 17, 2019, a CH-53E Super Stallion aircraft patrols the vicinity of the USS Boxer in the Arabian Sea near Oman. (Photo: CBS)

“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,” said Maj. Gen. Michael J. Borgschulte, commanding general of 3d Marine Aircraft Wing, in a statement that was provided to CBS News.

“It is with a weighty heart and profound sadness that I share the news.” This group of pilots and crew members were serving a purpose that was more important than themselves, and they were happy to be doing so.

We are indebted to them for their selfless service and the call to duty that they answered before us. We would like to extend our most sincere condolences to the families of our dead Marines and assure them that we will do everything in our power to facilitate your assistance and care during this extremely trying period.

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In a statement that was released on Thursday morning, President Joe Biden addressed the disaster and expressed his and First Lady Jill Biden’s emotions, stating that they are “heartbroken” over the loss of the Marines.

“As the Department of Defense continues to assess what occurred, we extend our deepest condolences to their families, their squadron, and the U.S. Marine Corps as we grieve the loss of five of our nation’s finest warriors,” stated Vice President Biden, in part.

The five Marines in question are a perfect example of the very best that our country has to offer, and they are serving in the military. While we are in mourning at this deep loss, we would want to acknowledge their heroic service and ultimate sacrifice. Additionally, we would like to reaffirm the sacred commitment that we have to all those who wear the uniform and their families.


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