The Marine Corps confirmed on Thursday that five Marines had died in Tuesday’s helicopter crash east of San Diego.
The announcement from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing came after a search and rescue operation located the helicopter on Wednesday in Pine Valley, about 44 miles east of San Diego. But the military did not confirm the deaths of the Marines on board until early Thursday.
The Marines were flying from Creech Air Force Base in Nevada to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego on a routine training flight when the aircraft was reported “overdue.”
Search teams, including the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and the Civil Air Patrol, combed the snowy and mountainous region on Wednesday until the helicopter, a CH-53E Super Stallion, which is used to carry heavy vehicles, cargo and personnel, was found.
On Thursday, work was continuing to recover the remains of the Marines and the equipment, and an investigation into what caused the crash was underway. the military said. The Marines were not identified.
Maj. Gen. Michael J. Borgschulte, the commanding general of the wing, said in its statement that he was sharing the news of the fatalities with “a heavy heart and profound sadness,” and expressed condolences to the Marines’ families.
The Marines on board were part of the Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, the Marine Aircraft Group 16, and the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.