Five U.S. Marines are currently unaccounted for in California while search teams comb a mountainous area for a military helicopter.
The helicopter was discovered at 9:08 a.m. PST, as reported by the search teams, but the Marines remain missing.
Lt. Matthew Carpenter, representing the San Diego County Sheriff’s office, mentioned that the search efforts commenced early Wednesday morning, around 1 a.m. local time.
Carpenter noted that as of 10 a.m., search teams are extensively covering Pine Valley in San Diego County in an effort to locate the Marines, who were assigned to the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. The Hill has made inquiries to the military base for further details.
The missing Marines belonged to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, as confirmed by an official from Miramar.
They were operating a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter, traveling from Creech Air Force Base in Nevada to Miramar on Tuesday. The helicopter was subsequently reported as overdue, according to the official.
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Pine Valley is situated in the Cuyamaca Mountains, located just east of San Diego in Southern California.
Carpenter highlighted the challenging nature of the search area, describing it as “very mountainous,” with weather conditions further complicating the search efforts. Instead of deploying helicopters, police are relying on ground teams to locate the missing Marines.
The search operation is a collaborative effort involving multiple agencies, including the Border Patrol and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, alongside assistance from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.
San Diego County, including the search area, has been experiencing severe winter storms, adding to the difficulties faced by the search teams.
The Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, situated in San Diego, serves as the base for the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.