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5 Marines Killed After Helicopter Crashed in Snowy California Mountains

2 months ago
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Five Marines aboard a helicopter crashed in remote, snow-covered woods Tuesday night are dead, a US military spokesperson confirmed on Thursday after authorities found the downed aircraft.

Reasons the Helicopter Crashed

The CH-53E helicopter was discovered near Pine Valley, California, in the Cleveland National Forest. The Marines were on a routine training flight from Creech Air Force Base near Las Vegas to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego when the Super Stallion helicopter was reported overdue on Tuesday evening.

Civilian authorities located the crashed helicopter around 9 AM PT on Wednesday about 30 miles east of the San Diego air station in the mountainous Pine Valley area, according to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. The condition of the recovered helicopter was not immediately disclosed.

The CH-53E is a heavy-lift transport helicopter used to carry cargo, vehicles and troops. The five Marines onboard were assigned to Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, Marine Aircraft Group 16, according to Marines spokesperson Capt. Stephanie Leguizamon.

The cause of why the Super Stallion helicopter crashed suddenly in a remote area is currently under investigation by military officials. Weather is not believed to be a factor as conditions were reported to be relatively mild that evening with light winds.

The aircraft's last communication ping was recorded at 11:20 PM Tuesday night according to Cal Fire San Diego spokesperson Mike Cornette. Authorities spent Wednesday carefully searching the dense, snowy woods before sadly confirming that none of the five missing Marines had survived the accident.


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