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US Helicopter Found in California; Search Persists for 5 Marines

Photo: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images

In Washington, a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter, carrying five Marines from Creech Air Force Base in Nevada to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in southern California, was reported overdue on Tuesday. The US Marine Corps revealed on Wednesday that the missing helicopter had been found in Pine Valley, California, but the search for the five service members is still ongoing.

The 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing is overseeing the search and rescue efforts, utilizing both ground and aviation assets. Coordination is in progress with the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, along with multiple federal, state, and local agencies. The Marine Corps statement did not provide information about any remains found with the helicopter, leaving open the possibility that the occupants may have survived the incident.

This incident follows a series of accidents involving US military aircraft in the past year, including the crash of a V-22 Osprey off the coast of Japan in November, resulting in eight fatalities. In the same month, five American service members died in a helicopter crash in the Mediterranean during a training exercise. Additionally, an Osprey crash in Australia in August claimed the lives of three Marines, while a collision of two helicopters in a remote area of Alaska in April resulted in the death of three military personnel and injuries to another. These incidents underscore the inherent risks associated with military aviation operations

Feb. 8, 2024 1:30 p.m. 1127

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