Five U.S. Marines have been confirmed dead more than 24 hours after their helicopter crashed, according to reports from the Daily Caller Foundation.
Authorities say the marines had been reported missing when their helicopter vanished on Tuesday night. The aircraft departed from Creech Air Force Base near Las Vegas, heading to Miramar in San Diego.
A search was carried out with help from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and Civil Air Patrol. The sheriff’s department said it received a call at 1:50 a.m. and sent its helicopter to search, but the aircraft wasn’t able to reach the area due to the heavy storm.
The five Marines who were aboard a helicopter that was reported missing Tuesday during a California storm are confirmed dead, the military said. Authorities are still attempting to recover the troops’ remains. https://t.co/QESk3SAEMb
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) February 8, 2024
Authorities located the downed aircraft near Pine Valley, California, on Wednesday. Another search is ongoing for the remains of the five Marines and equipment lost in the crash.
Maj. Gen. Michael J. Borgschulte, the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing’s commanding general, praised the deceased marines for their call to duty and selfless service.
“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,” Borgschulte said. “These pilots and crew members 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.”
Borgschulte also added that the deceased Marines were assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, Marine Aircraft Group 16 with the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. The service will not publicly identify the deceased until 24 hours after notifying their closest family members.
President Joe Biden, in a statement, said he was heartbroken by the news and thanked the local, state, and federal agencies, including the Civil Air Patrol and San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, for assisting in the search.
“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,” Biden said. “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.”