5 Marines Confirmed Dead After Helicopter Crash Outside San Diego; Investigation Underway

February 8, 2024 - Reading time: 2 minutes

Five U.S. Marines aboard a helicopter that went down during stormy weather in the mountains outside of San Diego have been confirmed dead, according to military officials.

The CH-53E Super Stallion vanished late Tuesday night while returning to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar after training at Creech Air Force Base, northwest of Las Vegas.

Maj. Gen. Michael J. Borgschulte, commander of 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing and the “Flying Tigers,” expressed his profound sadness in a statement: "To the families of our fallen Marines, we send our deepest condolences and commit to ensuring your support and care during this incredibly difficult time."

The names of the Marines were not immediately released. An investigation into the crash is underway, and efforts are being made to recover their remains from the crash site.

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden expressed their heartbreak at the loss of these five service members: "Our service members represent the very best of our nation — and these five Marines were no exception." The Department of Defense will continue to assess what occurred during this tragic event, while extending condolences to the families, squadron, and U.S. Marine Corps.

The helicopter was designed for harsh conditions but went down as an historic storm dumped heavy snow and record rain over California. Civilian authorities searched on ground and by air to locate the aircraft in difficult weather and terrain conditions. The five Marines were assigned to Miramar’s Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.

The CH-53E Super Stallion is the largest helicopter in the military and has been used for heavy-lifting duties around the world for more than three decades. More than 130 are currently in operation. Equipped with GPS, infrared radar, and other equipment, this aircraft has participated in numerous combat operations across various countries.

DW Staff

David Lintott is the Editor-in-Chief, leading our team of talented freelance journalists. He specializes in covering culture, sport, and society. Originally from the decaying seaside town of Eastbourne, he attributes his insightful world-weariness to his roots in this unique setting.