Five Marines Confirmed Dead in Helicopter Crash in Local Mountains

MCAS Miramar officials announced early Thursday that the five Marines who were missing after a CH-53E Super Stallion crashed in east San Diego County earlier this week have been declared dead.

MCAS Miramar released this 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. These pilots and crewmembers were serving a calling greater than self and were proud to do so. We will forever be grateful for their call to duty and selfless service. 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.”

- Maj. Gen. Michael J. Borgschulte, commanding general of 3rd MAW

The five Marines have not been identified; MCAS Miramar officials added that they were still working to recover the remains of the Marines and equipment. The Marines statement said, "As a matter of policy, identities of deceased service members are not released until 24-hours after all next-of-kin notifications have been completed."

Early Wednesday morning, the helicopter was reported missing after it was overdue to arrive at MCAS Miramar from Creech Air Force Base (located in Indian Springs, Nevada) on Tuesday evening. About eight hours after it was reported missing, crews located the downed helicopter in the Pine Valley area. The cause of the CH-53E Super Stallion's crash, which occurred during inclement weather conditions, is under investigation.

President Biden issued this statement:

"Jill and I are heartbroken at the loss of five U.S. Marines, whose aircraft crashed while flying from Nevada to California during a routine training mission. 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. I am deeply grateful to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary-Civil Air Patrol, and other federal, state, and local agencies for their professionalism and dedication in supporting search and recovery efforts."

(Photo Getty Images)

Photo: Getty Images

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