The US Marine Corps (USMC) confirmed the death of all five Marines who went missing after a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter crashed during a routine training flight in California.
The CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter, registered number AE4B95, was assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, part of Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.
It was reported overdue during a flight from Creech Air Force Base to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar on February 6, 2024. The crashed aircraft was later located in Pine Valley, California, on February 7, 2024, by civil authorities.
The 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing led the search and rescue efforts with the help of federal, state, and local agencies. Ground and air assets were deployed to aid in the search operation.
“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,” said Major General Michael J. Borgschulte, 3rd MAW Commanding General.
The CH-53E Super Stallion is a heavy-lift cargo helicopter mainly used by the USMC. It is one of the largest and most powerful helicopters in the US military and can carry up to 16 tons of cargo or up to 55 fully-equipped Marines.
The CH-53E has been in service since the early 1980s and has been used extensively in various missions, including troop transport, logistics support, and humanitarian aid missions.