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US Military Helicopter Missing in Southern California

Rescue teams have located the U.S. military helicopter that went missing during a flight to Southern California.

The CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter, carrying five Marines, was reported “overdue” on Tuesday while en route from Creech Air Force Base in Nevada to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar near San Diego, according to the Marine Corps.

The missing Marines, assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, were part of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing headquartered in Miramar.

The helicopter was discovered in Pine Valley around 9:08 a.m. Wednesday, initiating ground and aviation search efforts for the aircrew. San Diego County Sheriff’s deputies were among those aiding in the search near Interstate 8 and Kitchen Creek Road in East County.

The last known location of the helicopter was pinpointed via a ping to Cal Fire’s dispatch center at approximately 11:30 p.m. Tuesday. Despite extensive search efforts overnight, no signs of the aircraft were found. Additional resources, including drones and surveillance technology, were deployed at daybreak Wednesday to assist in the search efforts amidst challenging weather conditions.

Captain Mike Cornette of Cal Fire highlighted the difficulties faced by search teams due to the rugged terrain, adverse weather, and limited access to the area. Coordination efforts between search crews and the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing are ongoing.

The search operation unfolds as San Diego grapples with a winter storm, bringing heavy rain and significant snowfall to local mountains since Tuesday night.

The CH-53E Super Stallion, a heavy-lift helicopter utilized by Marines worldwide, plays a critical role in troop and equipment transportation, amphibious assaults, logistics support, and mission success, as detailed by the Navy.

With information from NBC Miami

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