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U.S. military helicopter carrying 5 Marines goes missing in Southern California

Authorities search Cleveland National Forest for missing U.S. military helicopter


Authorities search Cleveland National Forest for missing U.S. military helicopter

01:46

A U.S. military helicopter carrying five Marines that was due to land in California has gone missing, authorities said Wednesday. Search and rescue efforts were being coordinated by the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at Miramar Air Station, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and the Civil Air Patrol, the Marine Corps said in a statement to CBS News.

The CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter was flying from Creech Air Force Base in Clark County, Nevada, to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego on Tuesday when it was reported overdue, the Marine Corps said.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection told CBS News it received a call at 2:20 a.m. that the helicopter was overdue. 

Firefighters were dispatched to a location east of San Diego in the area of the Cleveland National Forest, a spokesperson with the agency’s San Diego office told CBS News. The area had rugged terrain and heavy snow was falling, the spokesperson said. Nothing was found at the location.

A CH-53E Super Stallion aircraft secures the area around the USS Boxer in the Arabian Sea off Oman, July 17, 2019.
A CH-53E Super Stallion aircraft secures the area around the USS Boxer in the Arabian Sea off Oman, July 17, 2019.

Reuters/Ahmed Jadallah


Cal Fire asked the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Border Patrol to help with the search effort. The forest is located near the U.S.-Mexico border.

A sheriff’s department spokesperson told CBS News that heavy cloud cover early Wednesday morning prevented the agency from deploying its helicopter to contribute to the search effort.

Rain, snow showers and fog were forecast for the area, with 1 to 3 inches of snow during the day in some parts, according to the National Weather Service’s San Diego office. By Wednesday night, snow accumulation was forecast to be 4 to 6 inches in some areas.

The five missing Marines were assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, the Marine Corps said.

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