Missing marines in helicopter crash confirmed dead, US military says

FILE - The U.S. Marine Corps Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter is seen during the U.S. and Japan militaries joint training exercise in Kisarazu, Japan on June 16, 2022. (Photo by David Mareuil/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Five U.S. Marines who went missing after a helicopter went down during stormy weather in the mountains outside of San Diego have been confirmed dead, the military said.

"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," Maj. Gen. Michael J. Borgschulte, commander of 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, said in a statement on Thursday morning.

The identities of the Marines were not immediately shared. 


The CH-53E Super Stallion went missing late Tuesday night while returning to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego after training at Creech Air Force Base, northwest of Las Vegas, according to the Associated Press. 

The helicopter was found Wednesday morning near the mountain community of Pine Valley, about an hour drive from San Diego.


The CH-53E is a heavy lift helicopter used for transporting troops and equipment in roles such as launching amphibious assaults and supply missions, according to the Naval Air System Command website. It has three engines and is about 99 feet long. The CH-53E is the largest military helicopter and is designed to handle harsh flying conditions. 

Meanwhile, heavy rain and snow have been soaking California for days as back-to-back "atmospheric river" storms moved through. The National Weather Service in San Diego called for 6 to 10 inches of snow in the mountains above 5,000 feet and gusty winds late Wednesday. 

On Tuesday afternoon, a tornado warning was issued but quickly canceled with the weather service saying the storm was not capable of forming a twister.

This story was reported from Cincinnati. The Associated Press contributed.