US Marines missing after helicopter wreck found near San Diego

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Five US Marines were missing on Wednesday after the wreckage of their helicopter was found in a remote area east of San Diego hours after it went missing in a mix of heavy rain and snow.

The CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter was found by civil authorities in Pine Valley at about 9am, some eight hours after it was reported overdue when it failed to reach the Marine Corps Air Station in Miramar, California, the Marine Corps said in a statement.

The 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing along with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and the Civil Air Patrol were conducting a search and rescue effort for the five crew members, the Marines said.

The crew had been on a routine training flight that had originated in Creech Air Force Base in Nevada about 40 miles (60km) northwest of Las Vegas on Tuesday night, the Marines said.

San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said it had received a call at 1am reporting the missing helicopter. The department said in a post on X that a mix of snow and rain did not allow it to use its helicopter unit for the search. Instead it deployed all-terrain vehicles to survey the area.